Ricky Jackson, 57, spent 39 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, and on Thursday an Ohio judge ordered the state to pay Jackson $1 million for his wrongful imprisonment, Reuters reports. Jackson was freed from prison last November.
Jackson was informed by a journalist about the $1 million check coming his way. "Wow, I didn't know that," Jackson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after he found out. "Wow, wow, wow, that's fantastic, man. I don't even know what to say. This is going to mean so much."
Jackson was convicted of murder in connection with the death of Cleveland salesman Harold Franks in 1975, alongside two other men, Kwame Ajamu and Wiley Bridgeman, who are brothers. Jackson was the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be eventually cleared of a crime. Ajamu and Bridgeman also were exonerated. Ajamu's sentence was commuted and he was released from prison in 2003, and Bridgeman was freed shortly after Jackson in November.
A 12-year-old boy named Eddie Vernon testified during the original trial that he saw the attack. Vernon later recanted his testimony, telling authorities that he did not, in fact, witness the crime.
According to Reuters, there was no other evidence linking Jackson to Franks' death. Other witnesses said that Jackson, who was a teenager at the time, was on a school bus at the time of the killing.