Exonerated death row inmates want changes to death penalty system

Apr 15, 2015

Left to right: Kwame Ajamu of Cleveland, Dale Johnston of Grove City, Ricky Jackson of Cleveland, Kevin Werner of Ohioans to Stop Executions, Derrick Jamison of Cincinnati, State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood; Wiley Bridgeman of Cleveland and Joe D'Ambrosio of Cleveland
Credit Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Six of the nine Ohioans who were exonerated after being sentenced to death want state lawmakers to consider changes to capital punishment in Ohio.

Joe D’Ambrosio spent 22 years on death row for a Cleveland murder he didn’t commit.

“If it can happen to me, it can happen to you, or your children, or your grandchildren,” D’Ambrosio said.

He and five other exonerated former death row inmates want state lawmakers to seriously consider the 57 recommendations made by an Ohio Supreme Court task force on capital punishment last year.

Their statements came in a press conference Tuesday called by Ohioans to Stop Executions.

Ricky Jackson of Cleveland served longer than any of the other five, or any other exonerated inmate in the U.S. – 39 years in prison.

“Most of my life, most of this man’s life, most of this man’s life,” said Jackson. “And I don’t want to see it happen again to anybody.”

Many of the six are also still fighting for financial compensation, though they all say there’s no amount of money that could make up for the years they’ve lost.