INNOCENCE: Kwame Ajamu Officially Exonerated, Becomes 150th Death Row Exoneree
At a hearing on December 9, Kwame Ajamu (formerly Ronnie Bridgeman) was formally exonerated of the 1975 murder for which he was convicted and sentenced to death. Ajamu joins his brother, Wiley Bridgeman, and co-defendant, Ricky Jackson, on DPIC's Exoneration List, becoming the 150th death row exoneree since 1973. Ajamu, Bridgeman, and Jackson were convicted based on the testimony of a 12-year-old boy who recently admitted that he never saw the killing. Ajamu's death sentence was reduced in 1978 when Ohio's death penalty statute was found unconstitutional. He was released from prison in 2003. Upon his exoneration, Ajamu said, "The important part is that we have been united while we are standing forward and upward and that we are not looking at each other in the graveyard," adding, "I feel vindicated. I feel free." The three men are expected to file for compensation for their many years of wrongful imprisonment. Cuyahoga County prosecutors said they will not object to efforts to obtain compensation, saying that the men were "victims of a terrible injustice."
(J. Caniglia, "'My battle is over!' Judge throws out the 1975 murder conviction of Ronnie Bridgeman," Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 9, 2014.) See Innocence.