To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Man wrongfully imprisoned for 21 years finally released and given $1.3 million

Man wrongfully imprisoned for 21 years finally released and given $1.3 million

Ralph Blaine Smith served 21 years behind bars

An Ohio man has been released from prison after 21 years of being locked up for a crime that might never have been committed.

Ralph Blaine Smith was put behind bars for an armed home invasion and robbery that allegedly occurred back in 2000.

Now, Smith is now being given $1.3 million in compensation from the state of Ohio for his wrongful imprisonment.

The state of Ohio is paying Smith $1.3 million in compensation.

At the time, Smith was accused of being one of two Black men who broke into a family's Lancaster home in February 2000 and stealing rare comic books and around $10,000 in cash.

Prosecutors based their charge against Smith solely on the fact that the two homeowners picked out him from a photo line-up.

There was no other evidence that linked Smith to the crime, and none of the reportedly stolen items were recovered.

Still, it was somehow enough to put him behind bars for more than two decades.

It wasn't until June 2021 that Judge Richard E. Berens reviewed Smith's case and found that prosecutors had originally withheld evidence.

Smith's lawyer, Joseph Landusky, found that his defence team had not been given the key evidence that would have proven his innocence.

He was behind bars for 21 years.
Fairfield County

"He was sentenced to 67 years in prison for a crime that was not even committed by anyone," Landusky said, per Local 12.

"When first responders showed up, there were no footprints in the snow. It had recently snowed.

"There was a dog barking right next door when they pulled up, the neighbours said no dog had barked in the last hour.

"There were no tire tracks, so it made sense to the investigating officers that this didn’t even happen.

"When they went in and checked the house out, they wrote in their report that it was too selective for them."

He added: "These are written in these reports. These reports were not given to the defence lawyer."

As a result, Smith was granted a second trial but rather than go ahead as planned, Fairfield County Prosecutors instead decided to drop all charges against him.

Since Smith walked free in 2021, he has filed a wrongful imprisonment claim against the state in the Ohio Court of claims.

Smith was put behind bars with shockingly little evidence.

On Monday (9 February), the Ohio Controlling Board approved the settlement payment, granting Smith $1.3 million in compensation.

The settlement will be split between Smith and his lawyers, who helped to file the wrongful imprisonment claim in December.

With his share, Smith says he'll be taking care of his family.

"They helped me out a lot when I was incarcerated with visits and phone calls. I'd like to make things a little easier on them," he told USA Today.

Smith has also filed a federal lawsuit against the police chief who investigated his case back in 2000, as well as the city of Pickerington and Fairfield County.

Featured Image Credit: WSYX ABC 6

Topics: US News, Crime, News