Judge says men exonerated in '75 Ohio murder wrongfully imprisoned; opens door to compensation

An Ohio judge has declared three exonerated men once convicted and sentenced to death in a 1975 Cleveland slaying to have been wrongfully imprisoned, opening the door for them to receive millions of dollars in compensation.

The ruling allows Wiley Bridgeman, Ricky Jackson and Kwame Ajamu (KWAH' may ah-jah-MU') to file cases in the Ohio Court of Claims. The Plain Dealer reports (http://bit.ly/17luNzw ) that under Ohio law, wrongfully imprisoned former inmates can be paid more than $40,000 for each year they were incarcerated.

The three black men were exonerated last year. Ajamu was released from prison in 2003. Bridgeman and Jackson were released in November after nearly 40 years behind bars.

The case against them fell apart when the prosecutor's key witness — a then-13-year-old-boy — recanted his testimony in 2013.