The East Cleveland Three speak to TU students
Three men who have been exonerated after 20 years spoke to Tiffin University students and community members Wednesday.
The East Cleveland Three are three men — named Eugene Johnson, Derrick Wheatt and Laurese Glover — who were arrested, convicted and sent to prison for a murder they did not commit.
These men told their experiences as part of a presentation hosted by TU’s undergraduate chapter of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP-u).
Their story starts in East Cleveland on Feb. 10, 1995, when 19-year old Clifton Hudson Jr. was found murdered, shot multiple times.
Witnesses reported seeing a person wearing dark clothing and a dark hat at the scene. Wheatt, Glover and Johnson happened to be near the scene.
The three juveniles were later arrested after an eyewitness placed Glover’s truck at the scene, but they emphasized they left the area when the shooting started.
The eyewitness who had stated she saw the gun shots come form the vehicle later recanted her statement.
Glover said he never thought he or his friends would get charged with anything.
“I believed that it would get straightened out,” Glover said. “After each stage it kept repeating and the years just started going by.”
“I knew we had to have faith,” Glover said. “The innocence project always fought for us”
Johnson said he didn’t feel what was happening was real until a witness said he was the one who had shot someone.
During the trial, Glover said he believed their attorneys had their best interests at heart, but after the conviction, he discovered there were witnesses who weren’t used due to their prior records and they couldn’t use them during the appeals.
In 2019 the court system ruled that Glover, Wheatt and Johnson were innocent of the crime.
Pierce Reed, program director, policy coordinator and system liaison of the OIP, said their work with bringing exonorees to speak to communities like Tiffin is for people to know what wrongful convictions are.
“These are real stories about real people who have lived through something horrific and have had years of their lives taken from them,” Reed said.
OIP works on over 200 cases at one time. Since 2003, OIP has secured the release of 28 men and women who have has 525 years collectively taken from them.