This is the humbling moment a man who spent 39 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of murder is set free.
Ricky Jackson, 57, appears to mouth ‘thank you’ after being cleared, looks to the heavens, and then gratefully embraces his legal team before being led from the court room.
He was convicted along with two others for the 1975 murder of Harold Franks, a Cleveland-area money order salesman, after 12-year-old Eddie Vernon testified he saw the attack, according to court documents.
However, when Vernon – now 53 – recanted his evidence and told authorities he had never actually witnessed the crime.
With no other evidence linking Jackson to the killing, in March lawyers for the Ohio Innocence Project filed a motion for a new trial after.
Vernon had told a pastor he was on a school bus at the time of the murder, which other witnesses confirmed.
Jackson is the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated, an lawyer for the Ohio Innocence Project said.
The two other men convicted alongside him, brothers Ronnie and Wiley Bridgeman, have also filed for a new trial.
Ronnie Bridgeman was released in 2003, but his brother remains in prison.
Jackson was originally sentenced to death but that sentence was vacated due to a paperwork error.
The Bridgemans remained on death row until Ohio declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1978.