This morning, the state of Ohio formally dismissed the murder charges against Eugene Johnson, Derrick Wheatt and Laurese Glover, aka the "East Cleveland 3." Their new trial began and ended today, after a long and circuitous process
stemming from their original 1996 murder convictions.
"You're free to go," Judge Nancy Russo told the men as the formalities were dealt with and the path toward freedom lit up with camera flashes and applause. "I wish all three of you the best." (The men were freed from prison one year ago, but spent the interim fighting for a new trial to clear their names. Finally, today's business took care of that officially.)
Russo also made sure to note the work of both the prosecution and the defense in bringing this resolution to fruition. "I think you did the right thing," she told the prosecutor. "Too infrequently do people give credit for people doing the right thing."
Immediately after the brief hearing, the men took a few questions from reporters and then embraced nearby family and friends.
"It was a journey," Johnson said, adding that this past year has been the longest time he's spent as a free man since he was 15. "I'm taking it one day at a time."