Since 1989, two-thousand and five people have been exonerated from Prison
in the U.S. Ricky, a man from Cleveland, being one of those exonerated.
In 1975, when Ricky was only 18-years-old a man was robbed and murdered
in Ricky’s Cleveland neighborhood. Days later, armed policemen went
to his home, kicked in his door and arrested him. All because of a testimony
given by a young man who claimed was a witness of the murder. Because
of the testimony given by that young man Ricky and two of his friends
were sent to prison and sentenced for the death penalty.
“To be sent to prison for something you didn’t do is so indescribable,” Ricky expressed. He believed his case was completely forgotten
about; when in fact the opposite was true. Little did he know the Ohio
Innocence Project was fighting to discover the truth. The witness who
testified against Ricky and his two friends in 1975 had a change of heart
and recanted, releasing Ricky into society again as a free man. “After
39 years, I was finally able to walk out” said Ricky.
Ricky is one of the longest-serving prisoners to have been exonerated in
the United States. While serving time in prison his mother passed away. “I couldn’t even grieve for my mother because they had made me so callus,” Ricky laments. After being released he met with his accuser, now
a middle aged man. Ricky said it was important for him to see him and
tell him, “I understand now.” Because he felt he was a victim just as much as he was. Ricky
said, “I wanted him to move on with his life, as I was going to move on with mine.”
Attorney Mark Godsey, of the Ohio Innocence Project explained that it took
years of effort to exonerate Ricky. Brian Howe, an attorney had law students
going door-to-door in the Cleveland neighborhood looking for witnesses
who remembered the case.
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