OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma man sat in jail for almost 600 days for a murder he did not commit. As The Oklahoman first reported, when the jury found him not guilty, he was taken back to the county jail where he spent an extra night behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Ronald Bledsoe sat in Oklahoma county jail for 595 days for allegedly killing a 12-year-old boy back in 2015. Instead of walking out of the court room after being proven innocent, he spent another night in jail.
“We see on TV all the time, somebody gets acquitted, and they walk out the courtroom with their family and they go home… They’re released or a later evening, early night. But I got a phone call the next morning at about 8:00 from his fiancé saying he was still in the county jail,” said Emily Grossnicklaus, assistant public defender for Oklahoma County, assigned to Bledsoe’s case.
It was back in 2015 when 12-year-old Jannah Britton was riding his bike at this parking lot in Oklahoma City. Someone shot him and he was paralyzed for years. Unfortunately, he died in 2021 due to his injuries from the shooting.
That’s when investigators charged Ronald Bledsoe with murder.
“They started kind of putting things together and ultimately discovered that they thought a vehicle in the video from 2015 was a vehicle that Mr. Bledsoe was driving at that time… I think the car was probably the biggest piece of the evidence that that this jury just didn’t feel like the state had proved with,” said Grossnicklaus.
Over a year and a half later, the jury found Bledsoe innocent of the crime. But instead of walking out of the court room that day, he spent another night behind bars.
“The jail told me he was on the release list. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how many people are on that. But to me, he should have been out immediately. He should have been released. The second he was acquitted, and he wasn’t,” said Grossnicklaus.
KFOR reached out to the Oklahoma County Jail. The jail said, “While we understand people would like to be released immediately. It does not happen that quickly. There is a legal process that must be followed prior to the release of an inmate. There are many factors such as receiving paperwork from the courts and staffing levels that can affect release time. During an average 24-hour period, jail staff will book and release approximately 120 people. Unfortunately, when dealing with such a high volume, it can sometimes take longer to release an individual than we would like.” Brandi Garner, CEO, Oklahoma County Detention Center.
But Emily Grossnicklaus, assigned to Bledsoe’s case says that’s unacceptable and insists Oklahoma County residents shouldn’t tolerate locking up anyone who is no longer accused of a crime.
She also says this has become a recent ongoing problem at the jail.
“I just think it’s important for people to know that the jails terrible. It’s a horrible place,” said Grossnicklaus.
Grossnicklaus also said recently they have been seeing more and more of this problem at the jail.
Bledsoe had been facing two charges at the time, a first-degree and a second-degree murder charge.
So far, no one else has been arrested for the killing of 12-year-old Jannah Britton.
As for next steps, Bledsoe’s attorney told KFOR he is looking at taking legal action against the jail for holding him an extra night.