A Lie Leads To A Wrongful Conviction In New Clip From True Crime Doc ‘Lovely Jackson’

June 4, 2022

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]

Is there anything worse than being punished for a crime you didn’t commit? Today, we have a new clip from Zodiac Features’ new biographical true crime docu-thriller, Lovely Jackson, the feature directorial debut from filmmaker Matt Waldeck, p.g.a. (“I See You”) ahead of its world premiere at the iconic American Black Film Festival on June 17th.


Lovely Jackson is a boldly cinematic epic journey that begins in tragedy, hopelessness, injustice, and death but ends in triumph, beauty, and new life. Focused on America’s longest wrongfully held exonerated prisoner, Rickey Jackson, returns to the actual prison where his 39-year journey of survival began in 1976 and guides his younger self from death row to freedom while facing his real-life accusers along the way, along with critical assistance from The Ohio Innocence Project. Lovely Jackson is a shocking and moving true story about perseverance through the darkest and most hopeless of circumstances that begins in violence and ends with love.


This documentary is exonerated prisoner Rickey Jackson’s daring first-hand account of the psychology of survival and spiritual fortitude required to withstand 39 years of wrongful incarceration for a murder he didn’t commit.  At the time of his release in 2014, Rickey was the longest wrongfully incarcerated person in U.S. history—spending 39 years on death row and in Ohio’s most dangerous prisons after being convicted solely on the coerced eye-witness testimony of a 12-year-old neighborhood paper boy.


In 1975, young Ricky and his two friends were convicted of the robbery and murder of Harold Franks without any physical evidence and mainly based on the coerced false eye-witness testimony of then 12-year-old neighborhood paperboy, Edward Vernon. Rickey is sentenced to die in the electric chair at just eighteen years old.  He spends two and a half years on death row and sees a number of his fellow death row inmates complete the “Death Walk,” the name given by the condemned to the “last thirty steps of your life,” before getting strapped in ride the lighting and die.  Rickey is just 82 days away from death by electrocution when miraculously, executions in Ohio are temporarily outlawed, and all death sentences are commuted to life in prison.  Rickey stays alive for now, but before him lay a different challenge—surviving the general population in Ohio’s most dangerous prison.


To be held wrongfully in prison for 39 years and nearly murdered by the State for a crime you didn’t commit is an unfathomable concept to most people. When Rickey was released from prison in 2014, no innocent person had done more time than he, so the film offers a unique opportunity for audiences to experience a first-hand, relatable perspective—an opportunity created only through one man’s heroic perseverance and a half dozen miracles taking place independent from his influence—a perspective of tragic expertise as to what the Criminal Justice and Penal Systems were for too many in America during the 2nd half of the 20th century.


Lovely Jackson is presented by H.E.L.P. in association with Zodiac Holdings and is a Zodiac Features production, directed by Matt Waldeck, written by Rickey Jackson and Matt Waldeck; producers are Rickey Jackson, Matt Waldeck, Ben Hecht (“I See You”), Travis Killian, and Jillian Wolstein, with music by Jacques Brautbar (“It Ain’t Over”), cinematography by John Turk (“Madtown”), and editing by Mark Andrew Hamer (“The Hunting”) and Lori Lovoy-Goran (“Kid 90”).



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