A heartwarming story with a chilling backdrop

Ricky Jackson and Wiley Bridgeman were freed yesterday after spending 39 years in prison for a 1975 murder because a juvenile witness, the then 12-year old, Eddie Vernon, finally admitted that his testimony was “all lies.”

In a very emotional clip, which you can view above, Jackson is seen leaving court as a free man for the first time in four decades. His facial expression? Priceless

According to a Daily Mail report, Jackson and Bridgeman were sentenced to death–their death row sentence was updated to life in prison when the death penalty was outlawed in 1978–after Vernon’s testimony of what he saw from a school bus after hearing gun-shots at a Cut-Rite pharmacy played a key role in Jackson and Bridgeman’s conviction. Other children from the bus testified that there’s no way Vernon would’ve been able to see anything, something Vernon–who is now 52-years old–has finally admitted.

Although Vernon’s testimony is what landed Bridgeman and Jackson in jail for nearly 40 years in the first place, Jackson says he has no ill will towards him, and can’t wait to “meet and hug” Vernon.