death penalty ohio

Ricky Jackson: Ohio Man Awarded $1 Million After Spending 39 Years Falsely Imprisoned

Ricky Jackson, a Cleveland, Ohio man, was falsely imprisoned for 39 years and just set free. The Ohio Court of Claims awarded Jackson just over $1 million to reimburse him for his time spent in prison. The 59-year-old man spent 14,178 days in an Ohio prison for a murder he did not commit, according to a recent court ruling.

The Ohio man was released from prison in November after his death sentence was overturned. Ricky Jackson was convicted for the 1975 murder of Harold Franks. The Cleveland area resident steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout his nearly 40 years behind bars.

In 2012, Eddie Vernon, who was 12 at the time of the Harold Franks murder, confessed to a Cleveland newspaper that he lied about the involvement of Ricky Jackson in the crime. Vernon told reporters that due to a desire to help the police, he lied about seeing Jackson and two other men killing Franks. A judge re-opened the Ricky Jackson case and ordered a new trial based on the confession of the former accuser. Vernon told a police officer that he saw Harold Franks’ slaying, but now admits that he was on his school bus about a block away when the local businessman was shot.

The two men Eddie Vernon said were Ricky Jackson’s accomplices in the crime were Wiley Bridgeman and Kwame Ajamu. Bridgeman was also released from prison in November. He had been paroled in 2002 but was sent back to prison several months later after an argument with a parole officer, WCPO Cincinnati News reports. Kwame Ajamu was paroled in 2003.

In February, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court ruled that Ricky Jackson had proven he was wrongly convicted and imprisoned.

The Ohio Court News website had this to say about the Ricky Jackson $1 million court claim award.

“Jackson then presented the appropriate certification to the Court of Claims on Feb. 20. Court of Claims Judge Patrick M. McGrath ruled that pursuant to R.C. 2743.49 the state auditor’s office calculated the current annual rate of compensation for a wrongfully imprisoned person is $51,902. During a status conference Wednesday, Judge McGrath said the state and Jackson’s attorney Michele L. Berry, verified the number of days wrongfully incarcerated at 14,178.”

Judge McGrath ordered that a $1 million award be paid to Ricky Jackson for “damages for physical injury caused by wrongful imprisonment.” The National Registry of Exonerations reports that upon his release, the Cleveland, Ohio, man was deemed to have spent more time in prison before being exonerated for the convicted crime than anyone else in American history.

[Image via: Shutterstock.com]

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