Herbert Alford spent five years in prison claiming he was innocent of charges in a 2011 murder. To provide an alibi, Alford needed a receipt from the car rental agency Hertz at a Lansing, Michigan-area airport, but the company took years to turn over the evidence.
Alford knew that if he could show a timestamp on a Hertz receipt, it would prove that he was renting a car 20 minutes away from the Lansing neighborhood where Michael Adams was killed.
Alford was convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Adams. He was sentenced to 32 to 62 years in prison, based on testimony from witnesses — one of whom was a paid police informant and who later recanted his allegations, The Washington Post reported.
By the time Alford’s conviction was thrown out and charges were dropped in 2020, he had already spent nearly five years in prison and jail.
After being subpoenaed several times, Hertz finally provided a copy of the receipt in 2018. The Michigan man, who was arrested in 2015, was finally exonerated in 2020.
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“There is no question that (Alford) would have avoided going to prison had (Hertz) produced this documentation,” attorney Jamie White told WLNS-TV, a CBS affiliate.
Alford is suing Hertz for failing to produce his receipt in a timely manner. His lawsuit seeks financial compensation.
“I always knew the receipt would do the trick, but whether we’d receive it was a huge question mark,” Alford’s attorney White said. “At the end of the day, Mr. Alford would really like to see Hertz held accountable. He really wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”
Hertz said it couldn’t find the receipt at first. “While we were unable to find the historic rental record from 2011 when it was requested in 2015, we continued our good faith efforts to locate it,” spokeswoman Lauren Luster said. “With advances in data search in the years following, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and promptly provided it.”
Twitter is torn.
Some wrote that Alford was responsible for his own misfortune.
“No one can take better care of you than you. Take personal responsibility and save your receipts. Suing someone else for your failure to act like an adult is an act of weakness,” posted one.
But others blasted Hertz. “I can’t wait to see what @Hertz ends up paying out to Herbert Alford…whatever it is. It won’t be enough.”
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