CLEVELAND, March 20 (UPI) -- Ricky Jackson, who spent some 39 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, was awarded more than $1 million by an Ohio court Thursday.
Jackson, 59, was the longest-serving prisoner to be exonerated in the United States. He was one of three men sentenced to death row after his 1975 murder conviction in the slaying of a Cleveland businessman. Prosecutors at the time relied heavily on the testimony of a 13-year-old boy for the conviction. Eddie Vernon waited nearly four decades to recant his accusations.
Jackson, who was not at the court hearing when the judge announced the award, told a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter he was thrilled.
"Wow, I didn't know that," Jackson said. "Wow wow wow, that's fantastic, man. I don't even know what to say. This is going to mean so much."
Jackson was released from prison in November after the Ohio Innocence Project of the University of Cincinnati College of Law delved into the case.
The award is tax-free and will be deposited into an annuity account which will be run by a financial advisor who will help Jackson handle the money, said Michele Berry of Cincinnati, his attorney from the Innocence Project.