Why a Man Accused of Murder Says He Was Falsely Imprisoned for Three Years


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A man accused of strangling a woman to death 12 years ago has filed a lawsuit against several Northwest Arkansas law enforcement members. Now his attorney is sorting through the files and evidence to earn true justice for his client, a self-proclaimed innocent man. 

Rico Cohn served 1,121 days in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit. While he searches for justice of his own, he also feels sympathy for the victim’s family.  

“This is happening in our backyard, under our noses and on our watch. An innocent man lost three years of his life for a crime that he did not commit, which means a killer is still out there,” said Tony Pirani, the attorney representing Rico Cohn.

A 271-page lawsuit seeks to clear the name of Rico Cohn, a man who spent three years behind bars facing capital murder charges. Back in 2006, Nina Ingram was found strangled to death, a murder which Fayetteville police accused Cohn of. 

“If the public knew what we knew, we think that everyone would see as we did a long time ago that the police arrested the wrong man,” Pirani said.

When Cohn was released back in 2015 for lack of evidence, it was a decision that shook Nina Ingram’s mother to the core. 

“To come through this, this many years and not have closure the way that I want it, is very, very difficult. Very, very painful,” Nina Ingram’s mother, Judy Ingram, said back in 2015. 

The new lawsuit calls out Fayetteville’s police chief, several investigators, and members of the Arkansas State Crime Lab for complaints including false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and civil and criminal conspiracy. 

“Rico deserves to have his name cleared and Nina Ingram’s family deserves to know the truth about the deep flaws in this investigation and the gross injustice that was committed against my client, as a result,” Pirani said.

With the clearing of Cohn’s name, his attorney, Tony Pirani, hopes it paves the way for real law and order. 

“We want Nina Ingram’s mother to know that Rico is not the man who killed her daughter, and we hope that they will be able to find justice for her as well because what happened to Rico is not justice,” Pirani said.

KNWA reached out to the Fayetteville Police Department. The public information officer was unavailable for comment. Also, the Fayetteville city attorney did not respond to several calls and voicemails. 

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