February 1, 2020 at 5:30 pm

East Cleveland Three to Tell Stories of Wrongful Convictions, Feb. 27

Group photo of Eugene Johnson, Derrick Wheatt and Laurese Glover

From left, Eugene Johnson, Derrick Wheatt and Laurese Glover

The Center for Law, Justice & Culture in collaboration with the Ohio Innocence Project host three Ohio Innocence Project exonerees—known as the East Cleveland Three—on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Athena Cinema.

In February of 1995, Laurese Glover was 16 years old and Derek Wheatt and Eugene Johnson were 17 years old, all living in the East Cleveland neighborhood. The three young men were in an SUV close to where the murder of a 19-year-old, who had been shot by a gunman on foot, took place.

Police ignored eyewitness accounts of those who described the gunman as having been on foot and decided to focus on the three young men instead. Furthermore, the county prosecutor ordered that those witness statements be withheld from the defense. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor secured murder convictions against all three men based off faulty gunshot powder residue science and an eyewitness identification by a teenage witness who stated she did not see the face of the gunman.

Laurese Glover, portrait

Laurese Glover

Glover was sentenced to prison for a period of 15 years to life.

Derrick Wheatt, portrait

Derrick Wheatt

Wheatt and Johnson were sentenced to prison for a period of 18 years to life.

Eugene Johnson, portrait

Eugene Johnson

After appellate remedies failed, the Ohio Innocence Project freed these men in 2015, 20 years after their arrests. All charges against them were dismissed by the prosecution the following year.

Johnson, Wheatt and Glover won their federal lawsuit for civil rights violations against East Cleveland and settled their claims with Cuyahoga County.

The event is sponsored by the Ohio Innocence Project at The University of Cincinnati College of Law, in partnership with the Ohio University student group OIP-u and the Ohio University Center for Law, Justice & Culture.

For more information about joining OIP-u, contact Chapter President Jada Sparks at or OIP-u’s New Member Coordinator Kheara Wright at


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