NewsLocal News


Isaiah Andrews, who spent 46 years in Cleveland prison for murder, declared wrongfully imprisoned

Isaiah Andrews
Posted at 1:30 PM, Mar 10, 2022

CLEVELAND — Isaiah Andrews, 84, who was exonerated of his wife's murder last fall after spending 46 years in prison and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Cleveland in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio last month, was declared wrongfully imprisoned Thursday.

The declaration of wrongful imprisonment took place at the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. You can watch it in the player below:

Andrews, 84, was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife in 1974 and spent 46 years in prison for the crime he did not commit. The Ohio Innocence Project uncovered evidence that had been hidden from Andrews' original defense team during the 1975 trial, and in 2019 the conviction was overturned.

Following a new trial, a jury reached a unanimous not guilty verdict on Oct. 27, 2021.

"In October, the jury saw the truth that this man is innocent but to hear it from the State of Ohio and from the judge today is frankly monumentous," said attorney Sarah Gelsomino of Friedman, Gilbert + Gerhardstein representing Andrews.

The declaration Thursday officially recognizes Andrews as a wrongfully imprisoned person.

"They stole decades of my life. It's time for them to take responsibility," Andrews said in a press release.

At the court appearance, Gelsomino thanked the Attorney General's Office for taking swift action on the declaration of wrongful imprisonment.

"In this case they really evaluated and confronted some really difficult truths and came to the very fast conclusion that Isaiah is in fact innocent and has served all of his time wrongfully," Gelsomino said. "So thank you to them for doing that quickly and not dragging him through further injustice in trying to once again clear his name."

The Attorney General's Office also spoke at the declaration Thursday calling the case "unfortunate" and wishing Andrews some sense of relief with him officially announced as wrongfully imprisoned.

After declaring Andrews wrongfully imprisoned, Judge Ashley Kilbane wished him the best as he moves to the next stage of the process, which will be obtaining compensation from the state.

"Mr. Andrews, on behalf of the State of Ohio, on behalf of all the citizens, we certainly hope that you can move forward and that when you pursue this wrongfully imprisoned claim, that although nothing can take back the years that were taken from you, that justice in some small part will be served to you for the remainder of your time here," Kilbane said.

RELATED: 84-year-old man exonerated after 46 years in prison sues Cleveland for withholding evidence in wife's murder case

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.