$31,500 settlement reached with City of Columbus over Wrongful Arrest

Columbus’ mayor publicly apologizes to a man who was wrongfully charged with murder. In April, Columbus police arrested 23-year-old Markeith Milner for the murders of Marcelo Rivera and Isaias Bartolon.

Two weeks later, investigators admitted they made a mistake, and Milner was set free.

“As you know, I was a chief of police here in Columbus and occasionally we do make mistakes,” said Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington.

With a public apology and a payout of 31,500 dollars, Columbus city councilors officially made amends for the wrongful arrest of Markeith Milner.

“The main thing was to try and restore as best we can, the damage that was done in having his picture plastered all over the tv and paper as a person charged in those murders,” said Milner’s attorney Frank Martin.

The double murders of Marcelo Rivera and Isaias Bartolon rocked Columbus’ Hispanic population to the core.

Less than a week later, Milner was charged with the crime.

But as the investigation continued, new evidence provided a break in the case.

“The Marshal’s Office received a tip from a confidential informant which provided key information about the names of the suspects involved in the home invasion,” said Muscogee County Marshal Greg Countryman.

Police eventually arrested four men, believed to be the real killers of Bartolon and Rivera.

But Milner’s attorney Frank Martin says his client may never be able to fully clear his name in the public’s eye.

“It’s sort of like a tattoo, if you take it off, there’s still a scar there,” said Martin.

Along with the settlement and a public apology, officials erased any records of Markeith Milner’s arrest in this case.