An Ohio man who spent nearly 40 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit will receive $2million from the state as compensation for his wrongful imprisonment. Ricky Jackson, 59, and his friends Ronnie and Wiley Bridgeman were sentenced to death in 1975 for the murder of a businessman after a 12-year-old boy said he saw them commit the crime.
All three men were exonerated in November after the witness, Eddie Vernon, recanted his testimony last year and said he had been pressured and threatened by police to testify.
Jackson, who is the longest-serving wrongfully convicted prisoner, was awarded $1million on Thursday as a down payment, according to Cleveland.com. The figure is computed from the state’s base rate for wrongful conviction compensation, which stands at $40,330 per year in jail. The number is then adjusted for inflation.
In addition to the tax-free $2million award, Jackson will also receive an undetermined sum of money to account for the wages he lost while in prison, according to his attorney Michele Berry.
And in January a Connecticut man who spent 21 years in jail for a r*pe and murder he did not commit received $6million in compensation after DNA tests proved his innocence. But Jackson was rendered speechless and thankful when he heard about the $2million compensation, calling it ‘fantastic’. ‘This is going to mean so much,’ he told Cleveland.com And no matter the amount of money, Jackson and the Bridgeman brothers all have ‘scars that we are never going to be able to recover from,’ he recently told Fusion.
‘I think the opportunity for justice to be served was lost the day we went to court,’ said Jackson, who said he will never forget the fact that he doesn’t have kids. But Jackson said he did not feel bitter or spiteful. ‘That’s something that happened. Everyone is going through something in their life. This was our something.’ ‘Whatever we lost is gone… we can’t ever recapture it.’ Jackson was only 18 when he was convicted of the May 19, 1975, murder of Cleveland businessman Harry Franks, who was attacked, robbed and shot to death.