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Steven Avery released

Steven Avery rests on the handle of a shovel after doing some work at the family salvage yard Sept. 25, 2003. Avery, who spent 18 years in prison for sexual assault, was released two weeks earlier, after DNA tests proved his innocence.

A man accused of killing a woman and burning her body has settled his federal lawsuit against authorities who put him in prison for a rape he didn't commit.

Steven Avery has agreed to dismiss his wrongful conviction lawsuit against Manitowoc County and the sheriff and district attorney who put him away for the rape for $400,000, a fraction of the $36 million he was seeking, said Ray Pollen, an attorney for the county.

Avery attorneys Stephen Glynn and Walt Kelly didn't immediately return messages from The Associated Press Tuesday evening, but Glynn told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Avery needs bail money in the homicide case and wants to hire a private attorney. He's currently represented by two assistant public defenders.

Pollen said the county's insurers agreed to the settlement to "buy finality."

He said the county officials acknowledge no wrongdoing in the deal. The DNA science that exonerated Avery in 2003 after he spent 18 years in prison didn't exist when he was convicted, Pollen said.

"The world has changed in science since then," Pollen said.

Avery, of Two Rivers, became a symbol of a flawed criminal justice system when he was freed from prison in 2003 for the 1985 rape of a woman on a Lake Michigan beach. He was convicted based largely on the victim's eyewitness testimony, but DNA tests showed she was raped by someone else.

Avery filed the $36 million suit against Manitowoc County, Thomas Kocourek, who was the Manitowoc County sheriff when he was convicted, and Denis Vogel, the district attorney then, alleging he was wrongfully convicted. Pollen also represents Kocourek.

Avery was charged in November with murder and mutilating a corpse after police found the charred remains of 25-year-old freelance photographer Teresa Halbach in the Avery family salvage yard.

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