Crime & Justice

Susan Mellen: Wrongly convicted woman who served 17 years declared innocent

Susan Mellen is shown outside Torrance Superior Court in this file photo taken Friday Oct. 10, 2014. Mellen was exonerated and released from prison for a murder she didn't commit 17 years ago. On Friday, November 21, 2014, a judge declared her factually innocent, clearing the way for her to claim about $600,000 from the state in compensation.
Susan Mellen is shown outside Torrance Superior Court in this file photo taken Friday Oct. 10, 2014. Mellen was exonerated and released from prison for a murder she didn't commit 17 years ago. On Friday, November 21, 2014, a judge declared her factually innocent, clearing the way for her to claim about $600,000 from the state in compensation.
Brad Graverson/AP
Susan Mellen is shown outside Torrance Superior Court in this file photo taken Friday Oct. 10, 2014. Mellen was exonerated and released from prison for a murder she didn't commit 17 years ago. On Friday, November 21, 2014, a judge declared her factually innocent, clearing the way for her to claim about $600,000 from the state in compensation.
In this file photo, Donald Besch, 25, right, the son of Susan Mellen, who had little memory of his mother because he was so young when she was imprisoned, opens his shirt to show reporters a broken heart he had tattooed on his chest to honor her, as family members awaited for her release outside the courthouse in Torrance on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014.
Damian Dovarganes/AP


A woman who spent 17 years in a California prison for a murder she didn't commit has been declared factually innocent.

Judge Mark Arnold made the ruling Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in the case of Susan Mellen.

City News Service says Mellen is grateful for the ruling that clears the way for her to claim about $600,000 from the state in compensation.

Arnold previously overturned Mellen's conviction in the 1997 beating death of a homeless man. Her conviction was based on the testimony of a notorious liar. Prosecutors agreed Mellen was wrongly convicted.

Mellen's attorney says the 59-year-old Gardena woman left prison broke. Mellen can now claim $100 for every day she spent behind bars.