CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Dozens of members of Witness to Innocence, a national organization of wrongly convicted and exonerated death row survivors, and lawmakers gathered Friday to call for an end to the death penalty and other reforms to prevent wrongful executions.
"I'm one of nine death row exonerees from Ohio out of the 155 people who have been exonerated from death rows across the country since 1973," said Joe D'Amrosio, who was freed in 2012 after serving more than 20 years on Ohio's death row for a crime he did not commit.
"Four of us were convicted here in Cuyahoga County, and we're pleased to have our brothers and sisters from across the country join us to say 'Enough is Enough.' It is time to end the death penalty."
In an emotional plea, Kwame Ajamu (formerly known as Ronnie Bridgeman) begged for the death penalty to end. Ajamu was sentenced to death in 1975 at the age of 17. He was released from prison in 2003 after serving 28 years in prison. His brother Wiley Bridgeman and friend Ricky Jackson were also wrongfully convicted in the death of a Cleveland man. They were both released in Dec. 2014 after the state's main witness, a 12-year-old boy recanted his testimony. The charges against Ajamu were tossed during that time.
"We must all stand together to fight this fight, win this challenge, for it must be fought," said Kwame Ajamu.
Another news conference will take place Saturday, Oct. 10 at St. Clarence Church in North Olmsted.