A man jailed nearly a year for a string of arsons that a jury decided he didn’t commit is suing the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.
In 2014, it took a jury four minutes to find Ryan Wilson not guilty of burglarizing and torching cars at Eastwood Oaks Apartments in Hilliard.
Three years later, Wilson has filed a $75,000 lawsuit for false arrest and false imprisonment.
“It was just like a nightmare. I suffered a lot, but I endured,” said Wilson.
Wilson said he had just gotten home from taking his daughters back-to-school shopping in July 2013 when a deputy knocked on his door.
“I feel like they had to get somebody and I was the one that was arrested,” said Wilson.
The month before Wilson’s arrest, Crime Stoppers raised the reward from $5,000 to $11,000.
“There’s an $11,000 bounty on your head and someone’s going to call and turn you in,” said Crime Stoppers Executive Director Wyllie Hodges at a news conference in June 2013.
Someone did: Wilson’s ex-girlfriend.
Action News Jax got Wilson’s arrest report from the State Attorney’s Office; it confirms the only evidence deputies had when Wilson was arrested was his ex-girlfriend’s claim that he’d confessed to her.
Wilson was charged with five felony counts.
He couldn’t afford bail and spent 10 months in jail before a jury found him not guilty.
With this lawsuit, Wilson wants to send a message to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m not angry. I just want justice to be done,” said Wilson.
Action News Jax asked Sheriff Bill Leeper for NCSO’s side of the story. Leeper said he does not comment on pending lawsuits.
The State Attorney’s Office confirmed no other arrests were made in connection to the 2013 string of arsons in Hilliard.
Cox Media Group