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Man awarded $14.5M after investigator targeted him in young girl’s 2007 killing

KALAMAZOO, MI – A man once suspected of killing an 11-year-old girl won a $14.5 million jury verdict against a state police investigator.

A federal jury on Wednesday, Sept. 19, awarded Raymond McCann II $12.5 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages.

His attorney, Russell Ainsworth, said state police Trooper Bryan Fuller had “tunnel vision” and “focused exclusively” on McCann as the suspect in the sex assault and killing of Jodi Parrack in the small town of Constantine in St. Joseph County.

Related: ‘Everyone in town believed he was a murderer:’ Once a suspect in girl’s 2007 killing, man puts investigator on trial

He was not charged in the killing but spent 20 months in prison for perjury for statements given police during the homicide investigation. His attorneys said that Fuller’s “false allegations spread and thus almost everyone in the town believed he was a murderer. Mr. McCann’s reputation was destroyed and he lost his family and community.”

McCann contended that Fuller tried to get him to confess to killing the girl. McCann said he pleaded no contest to a single charge of perjury rather than risk five life sentences if he took the perjury case to trial. The conviction was later overturned.

Related: Jodi Parrack’s mother blasts prosecutor as child killer heads to prison

Eight years after Jodi’s November 2007, killing, Daniel Furlong, 73, admitted he had lured Jodi into his garage on Fifth Street in Constantine. He killed her by putting a plastic bag over her head.

His DNA was found on Jodi’s body. In a plea deal, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder.

Related: Affidavit: Former officer worried DNA would link him to Jodi Parrack’s slaying

The jury in McCann’s civil trial reached its verdict in four hours, after a week of testimony before U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo.

McCann was “elated” when the verdict came in, Ainsworth, his attorney, told MLive.

“He’s still having a hard time believing that he finally got justice after being treated so horribly by the justice system for so long.”

The jury recognized the “magnitude” of harm his client suffered, he said.

Jodi went missing Nov. 8, 2007. She had been at a friend’s house but did not return at dinner. Her family and police searched before her body was found that night in a cemetery.

While McCann, a Constantine police reserve, helped with the search, he was also considered a suspect, failing a polygraph test with another test inconclusive.

Fuller was assigned to a cold-case team in 2011. He interviewed McCann multiple times. A state police detective suggested that Fuller was too focused on McCann. Assistant Attorney General Eric Jamison said in court documents that a detective told Fuller “to move on, and he did.”

The cold-case disbanded in early 2014. Fuller pressed for perjury charges against McCann.

In August 2015, Furlong – the admitted killer – lured another girl into his garage at a White Pigeon mobile-home park. She escaped. Police linked Furlong’s DNA to that found on the slain girl.

Related: Killer of 11-year-old Jodi Parrack ‘a sick, sick man,’ prosecutor says

McCann sued for malicious prosecution and due-process rights violations. The defense argued Fuller had qualified immunity and that there was probable cause to bring the perjury charges.

They also said McCann “had a long list of bizarre statements that didn’t match objective evidence and didn’t match with other witness statements.”

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