An Ohio man who spent nearly four decades behind bars for a crime he did not commit will be awarded just over $1 million, a state court ruled Thursday.
Ricky Jackson, 58, was convicted along with two brothers in the 1975 murder of a Cleveland-area money order salesman. A key witness — who was 12 years old at the time — recanted his testimony two years ago, eventually allowing Jackson, who was serving a life sentence, to be exonerated.
At the time, Jackson was believed to have served the longest sentence for someone wrongly incarcerated, NBC affiliate WKYC reported.
A judge ruled last month that Jackson and the other two suspects who were also exonerated are entitled to financial compensation. A judge and Jackson’s attorney reportedly agreed upon the preliminary figure using a state auditor’s calculation and Jackson’s total number of days locked up — 14,178.
Jackson won his freedom along with co-defendant, 60-year-old Wiley Bridgeman, in November. Bridgeman’s brother, now known as Kwame Ajamu, 56, was exonerated the following month, although he was already out on parole in 2003.
The men were originally sentenced to death, but that sentence was vacated because of a paperwork error.
“A lot of people think I should be mad,” Jackson told reporters upon his release, adding that “it took a lot of courage” for the witness to recant his statement.