The Age Of Light
Whitney Scharer
Contributed by Elene Blackwelder
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Chapter 13

In this chapter, Swenson recalls the court’s proceedings during Rickey Jackson’s court hearing on a motion to seek a retrial following Ed Vernon’s recantation of his previous testimony. Karen Smith, the first witness to take the stand, maintained her position that Ronnie, Rickey, and Wiley were not guilty of Mr. Frank’s murder. Ed also took the stand to testify.

Questioned by both the defense attorney, Brian Howe, and the state’s assistant prosecutor, Mary McGrath, Ed explained that he had been threatened and coached by police on what to say during the first trials. Another witness, Tommy Hall — a childhood friend of Ed Vernon, was also called to testify and confirmed that during the fateful event, both Ed and himself, as well as other children, were on the school bus and none of them saw the attackers. Rickey Jackson was also called to the stand where he maintained his innocence.

On the second day of the hearing, prosecutor Tim McGinty stated that in light of the new evidence, and due to the total recantation by the key witness, the state would be withdrawing its motion in opposition for a new retrial. The judge granted the defense’s motion for a new trial and stated that the prosecutor had made the right choice.


Following the events in this chapter, it is unfortunate that Ed took all those years to finally speak the truth — forcing three men to spend most of their adult lives behind bars for a crime they did not commit. When the prosecutor, Tim McGinty, withdrew the motion in opposition for a new retrial, the judge overseeing the hearing commends him for “making the right choice”. This proves that the judge had already seen that Rickey, Ronnie, and Wiley were, in fact, innocent.

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