Ronnell Johnson walked out of the Washtenaw County Jail after spending the last 14 years incarcerated. In 2008 he was convicted of robbing a Ypsilanti Township car wash and was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
Johnson, who always maintained his innocence, was convicted — in large part — based on the testimony of his father, who received a plea agreement in an unrelated crime in exchange for his testimony. This withholding of evidence from the defense was determined to be a violation of Johnson’s constitutional rights and is what led to his release. Court records indicate that Johnson didn’t have a relationship with his father.
When Johson, now 35 years old, was finally released, he celebrated by going to a Chinese restaurant with his mom, sister, and lawyers. Other exonerees showed up to the restaurant to congratulate him. He also got a chance to see his 16-year-old daughter, who grew up without her father. Johnson is ready to move on with his life and says he doesn’t harbor any anger about what he’s been through after working it out over the years. “I don’t have one piece of angry bone in my body,” he says. "I can tell you that from the bottom of my heart."