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Ex-Death Row Inmate Can File Wrongful Imprisonment Claim

Dale Johnston
Witness to Innocence

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a former death row inmate can sue for wrongful imprisonment over a 3-decade-old double slaying he didn't commit.

The court's ruling Wednesday says a 2003 law updating the state's definition of wrongful imprisonment can be used retroactively by 82-year-old Dale Johnston to sue Ohio.

Johnston, of Grove City in suburban Columbus, was sentenced to die in 1984 for the shooting deaths of his teenage stepdaughter and her fiance two years earlier.

The case against him fell apart on appeal, and he was freed in 1990. Another man confessed in 2008 to killing the couple.

A Franklin County judge declared Johnston innocent in 2012, allowing him to seek compensation from the state, but an appeals court reversed the ruling.

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