Innocent Man Released After Spending 39 Years in Prison


Meet Ricky Jackson. His 1975 murder conviction was based on the testimony of a 12-year-old child.

An Ohio man named Ricky Jackson who spent 39 years in prison for a murder he did not commit was freed on Friday after becoming the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated.

“Life is full of small victories and this is a big one,” Cuyahoga County Judge Richard McMonagle told Ricky Jackson, 57, before his release on Friday. McMonagle’s father, George McMonagle, was the original judge in Jackson’s case in 1975.

A second man convicted in the case, Wiley Bridgeman, 60, was released shortly after Jackson on Friday after charges were dismissed. Bridgeman had first been freed in 2002 but was imprisoned again for a probation violation, defense attorneys said.

After his release, Jackson smiled and hugged his attorney, Brian Howe, and other former inmates who had been exonerated as a result of efforts by the Cincinnati-based Ohio Innocence Project.

The judge overturned Jackson’s murder charge because the 12-year-old boy’s testimony that the case was based on was later found to be a lie. Here’s what Jackson thinks about the circumstances of his imprisonment and release:

“I guess a lot of people would want me to hate that person and carry animosity toward him.”

Hear Jackson in his own words:

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