An American who spent 39 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit will receive more than $1 million in compensation from the state of Ohio for his wrongful imprisonment.
Ricky Jackson, who was only saved from execution by a paperwork error served the longest known sentence of any American subsequently found to have been wrongfully convicted.
“Wow, wow, wow, that’s fantastic, man. I don’t even know what to say. This is going to mean so much,” Mr. Jackson, now 58 told the Cleveland Plain Dealer when he was informed that he would receive the payment following an order from the Ohio court of claims.
Jackson was 19 years when he was one of three best friends sentenced to death in 1975 for the murder of a money order salesman outside a corner store in Cleveland.
He and two brothers were convicted on the basis of the testimony of a 13-year-old boy, Eddy Vernon who said that he witnessed the killing of Harold Franks. Vernon later recanted his account as an adult.
Although no other witnesses placed him at the scene at the time of the murder and there was no other evidence linking him to the killing, he was sentenced to death but mistakes in paperwork and appeals delayed the process.
The two brothers, Wiley and Ronnie Bridgeman were freed in 2002 and 2003 respectively after 26 and 27 years in jail. Ronnie was later imprisoned again for a probation violation and only released again in December last year.
Jackson was finally released from prison in November following prolonged campaigns by the Ohio Innocence Project. The trio were finally cleared by a judge after Vernon signed an affidavit saying he had lied and was coerced by police into testifying against them.
The Ohio court of claims thereafter ordered the state to pay him $1,008,055 for the nearly 39 years he spent in prison. The Bridgeman brothers will also be compensated for their years in jail.