Since 1989, 2,005 people have been exonerated from prison in the United States. And one man just got out of jail after four decades! From The Doctors:
Ricky is one of those exonerated – after serving nearly 40 years for a crime he didn’t commit. In 1975, a man was robbed and murdered in Ricky’s Cleveland neighborhood. Days later, armed police kicked in the door of the home where 18-year-old Ricky lived. Based on the testimony of one young boy who claimed to have witnessed the murder, Ricky and two of his friends were convicted of the crime and sentenced to death.
“To be sent to prison for something you didn’t do is so indescribable,” says Ricky now. “You have to fight every day to maintain the person that you are.” His mother told him, “Don’t them turn you into a prisoner.” She died while he was imprisoned. “I couldn’t even grieve for my mother because they had made me so callous,” Ricky laments.
Ricky believed that his case was forgotten, but the Ohio Innocence Project was fighting to discover the truth. The witness who testified that Ricky and his friends had committed the murder recanted and Ricky was released. “After 39 years, I was finally able to walk out.”
Ricky is the longest-serving prisoner to have been exonerated in the U.S. After his release, he met with his accuser, who is now a middle-aged man. “It was important for me to go to this guy and say, ‘I understand now.’ Because in a way, he was a victim just as much as we were,” Ricky says. “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 notes that in many of the cases the project investigates, the prisoners turn out to be guilty. “When we confirm guilt, that’s what we love,” he says – it means that the real perpetrator is behind bars.