Justice Prevails: After 25 Years, Innocent Man Jesse Johnson Walks Free

After maintaining his innocence for twenty-five years, Jesse Johnson was finally released from custody this week. Despite being wrongfully convicted, Johnson persevered in proclaiming his innocence throughout his lengthy ordeal. In Salem, Oregon, a 62-year-old individual was found guilty of the murder of Harriet "Sunny" Thompson, who was 28 years old at the time.

This incident occurred 25 years ago. In the year 2004, a death sentence was issued to him. After the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed his conviction, the prosecutors made the decision to not pursue a retrial, which occurred two years later.


Johnson's case was taken up by the Oregon Innocence Project, an organization that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals. They strongly believed that a grave injustice had taken place in the way Mr. Johnson's case was handled. Johnson consistently rejected plea deals throughout the years, firmly asserting his innocence.

According to CNN, Judge Rex Armstrong stated on Wednesday that the inadequate performance of the petitioner's trial counsel led to prejudice.

According to Steve Wax, the legal director of the Oregon Innocence Project, a detective involved in the case made explicit and unequivocal racist remarks. These remarks were directed towards a neighbor who had witnessed a white man fleeing from the scene on the night of the murder.

Johnson's repeated requests for a change of location for his trial were consistently denied. However, he was eventually granted a new trial after a court order was issued. The DNA found at the crime scene did not match Johnson's DNA.

Neighbor Patricia Hubbard attempted to provide testimony and informed the officers that she witnessed a tall white man parking his van and entering the victim's residence. According to her account, she heard a thud and screaming inside the house, after which she observed the white man fleeing from the scene. However, it is disheartening to note that her testimony was reportedly met with indifference and racial bias. According to reports, the officer allegedly informed her that a black woman had passed away and indicated that a black man would be held accountable for the incident.

Thompson sustained multiple stab wounds and her throat was subsequently slashed. A week after the incident, Johnson was apprehended by law enforcement authorities for violating his probation. During questioning, Johnson acknowledged his acquaintance with the victim but maintained that he was not present at her residence on the day of the murder.

According to Wax, the State of Oregon has been engaged in a legal battle for a span of 25 years in an attempt to uphold their case against Jesse Johnson, who was once their client. Wax describes the case as deeply flawed. The situation where Mr. Johnson received a death sentence in Marion County and subsequently spent numerous years on death row is considered an extremely egregious form of injustice.


After being released from captivity, Johnson expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming phase of his life and maintained a positive outlook, despite the significant amount of time that had been taken away from him.

He expressed his feelings of happiness, excitement, and readiness for the upcoming phase. Over the course of several years, there has been a persistent and ongoing situation that has caused me great distress, despite my complete innocence in the matter.


Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Wayne Dupree, Privacy Policy