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Three convictions overturned with help from Ohio Innocence Project

Ohio Innocence Project
Supporters of Derrick Wheatt, Laurese Glover and Eugene Johnson gather in the courtroom after the news came that the trio's convictions have been thrown out.

It's been nearly two decades since three Ohio men were sent to jail for the murder of Clifton Hudson, Jr. in East Cleveland. A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Thursday threw out the convictions of Derrick Wheatt, Laurese Glover, and Eugene Johnson.

Speaking from the courthouse, Attorney Brian Howe says this marks the second triple exoneration for the Ohio Innocence Project in six months.

"For right now, what the court has done is vacate their convictions," says Howe. "So they're no longer convicted of the crime and they're returned to where they were before the original trial... It remains to be seen whether the case will move forward or whether the charges will be dismissed, and whether the state will appeal the decision that was issued today."

Credit Mark Bealer / Ohio Innocence Project
A tear slips down Derrick Wheatt's face as his conviction is overturned.

The Innocence Project has been working on this case for nearly ten years.

Howe says the three men smiled and covered their faces as tears fell, after the convictions were overturned.

"This is a huge moment for them," he says. "Safe to say, they're pretty happy right now."

The Innocence Project says a key eyewitness recanted her testimony. It also turns out information from some police reports casting doubt on the defendants' guilt wasn't disclosed to the trial team 18 years ago.