He was found guilty in 1984 for a double murder he did not commit. He was sent to death row but was released in 1990. Since then, he tried to live a normal life, although the past still haunts him. He filed a lawsuit against the state and his hearing is scheduled for Wednesday March 11 at the Ohio Supreme Court.
The now 81-year-old ex-convict describes his experience in prison as “hell on earth”. In a recent interview given at his home in Grove City, he explained that
“Death row’s the most horrible place anybody could be, especially when you know they want to kill you for something you didn’t do.”
In 1982, fragments of two bodies belonging to his stepdaughter Annette Cooper Johnston and her boyfriend Todd Schultz were found in a cornfield. They were declared missing just a few days ago.
In 1983, he was issued the criminal charges, being suspected of committing the murder and in 1984 he was found guilty by the Hocking County jury after hearing the testimony of a hypnotized witness. He was sentenced to death on the account that he had been having an affair with his stepdaughter and that out of jealousy, he killed both her and her boyfriend.
An appeals court had later disaffirmed the conviction and asked for a new trial. The testimony belonging to the hypnotized witness along with other evidence was rejected by the judge.
The crime was solved in 2008 when two men admitted of being guilty. One of them said he was responsible for killing the couple while the other said he helped get rid of the bodies. Johnston was declared innocent in 2012 and was given the right to seek compensation from the state. An appeals court, however, overthrew the ruling.
According to the state, however, Johnston had previously failed to prove he was falsely imprisoned, making him ineligible to try again. His attorney, Todd Long, said it is important for Johnson to receive the appropriate compensation as it will help put a stop to the “monstrous inequity”.
Up until now, Ohio courts have allowed compensations worth of thousands of dollars to those put in similar cases in the past.
Image Source: 10TV