Exoneration of Wiley Bridgeman

"It’s hard to express enough thanksgiving when the number of people who have shared their generosity with us are so many. I wish to thank all the supporters and all the contributors for all they’ve done for our tomorrow." --Wiley Bridgeman

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Wiley Bridgeman was released from prison on November 21, 2014, after approximately 38 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. 

Wiley Bridgeman has been wrongfully imprisoned for almost his entire adult life and has nothing.  Your donations will be given directly to Wiley to help rebuild his life. All money raised through this campaign will go directly to Wiley Bridgeman.

More information about this case is below.  29 hours into the campaign we received the following request from GoFundMe:

"Transparency is always the best policy and we ask that you include the following information in your campaign description:"

1. Who you are

Abraham J. Bonowitz is administering this campaign on behalf of Ohioans to Stop Executions, which was asked to do this by Terry Gilbert, one of Wiley Bridgeman's attorneys. Our press release is here. OTSE is a nonprofit organization incorporated in Ohio.

2. Where you're from

Ohioans to Stop Executions is headquartered at 9 E. Long St. in Columbus, Ohio.

3. Your relationship to the parties you're raising funds for

Wiley Bridgeman was released from prison after nearly 40 years on Friday, November 21st, 2014. We look forward to meeting him. Abraham Bonowitz has known Bridgeman's attorney, Terry Gilbert, for over 15 years.

4. How the funds will be spent (be specific as possible)

Wiley Bridgeman is starting life anew after over 39 years of incarceration including several on death row. He needs everything - clothes, housing, physical and mental health care, transportation, fun - you name it.

5. How you intend to get the funds to those in need

Funds will be disbursed to Wiley Bridgeman via his attorney, Terry Gilbert. Wiley has sole discretion as to the use of your donations.

History of the case: 

In 1975, Wiley Bridgeman, his brother Ronnie Bridgeman, and friend Ricky Jackson were all convicted for a crime they did not commit.  They were all sentenced to death.  

The only evidence tying the three young men to the crime was a 12 year old boy who said he was an eyewitness.  An investigative reporter dug into the case, eventually publishing a thorough story on their probable innocence.

After this story was published, the Ohio Innocence Project learned that the 12 year old boy was, in fact, pressured by the police to identify Wiley, Ricky, and Ronnie.  

The 12 year old boy, now a 52 year old man, came forward last year to recant his testimony. He confessed that he had not seen the crime, and that he never saw Wiley, Ricky, or Ronnie commit the crime for which they had been convicted. This recantation eliminated the only evidence against the men.

All three men sought new trials in light of this recantation.  After a hearing in Ricky Jackson's case on November 17th and 18th, 2014, the State conceded that based on the total recantation, they would move to dismiss the charges against Wiley, Ricky, and Ronnie. 

On November 21, 2014, the State dropped all charges.  Wiley and Ricky were finally able to leave prison. 

After approximately 39 years in prison, Wiley has nothing.  Your donations will be given directly to Wiley to help rebuild his life.  All money raised through this fundraiser will go directly to Wiley Bridgeman.

To find out more about the case, visit the sites below:





Donations (316)

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  • Matt Johnson
    • $10 
    • 7 yrs
  • Matt Johnson
    • $10 
    • 7 yrs
  • Matt Johnson
    • $10 
    • 7 yrs
  • Matt Johnson
    • $10 
    • 7 yrs
  • Matt Johnson
    • $10 
    • 7 yrs
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Abraham J. Bonowitz
Cleveland, OH

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