Men wrongfully convicted in Theresa Fusco case seek damages from Nassau County, police

A jury started hearing evidence in Restivo and Halstead's case Tuesday afternoon. (4/15/14)

CENTRAL ISLIP - A Central Islip jury began to hear evidence Tuesday to decide whether two men wrongfully convicted in the 1984 rape and murder of a Lynbrook teen should be compensated for the years they spent behind bars.

John Restivo, Dennis Halstead and John Kogut were freed in 2003 after spending 17 years in prison when DNA evidence showed that another man had raped and murdered Theresa Fusco. 

Since 2006, the three men have been trying to sue Nassau County and the Nassau County Police Department over claims their civil rights were violated. A jury started hearing evidence in Restivo and Halstead's case Tuesday afternoon.

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Attorneys for the men hope to argue their clients have suffered emotionally as a result of their convictions. The jury heard testimony from a doctor who explained the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. An attorney, who is friends with John Restivo, also told jurors that Restivo has been anxious, worried and somewhat paranoid since being released from prison.

A separate jury has already decided that Kogut is not entitled to any monetary damages. An attorney for Nassau County would not comment on the lawsuit.

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