From wrongful conviction to freedom

Man who spent 20 years in an Ohio prison for a crime he did not commit shares his story at BGSU Firelands College
Alissa Widman Neese
Apr 3, 2013


Dean Gillispie faced a small crowd Tuesday afternoon, sternly analyzing a pair of self portraits. 

His painting displayed a grim picture: two gagged faces, differing in appearance by two decades, watching helplessly as a cyclone of words went swirling down a toilet drain.

"These words list what I lost in half of my life I'll never get back," said Gillispie, 47. "My job, my freedom, my house. While my buddies were getting married and having kids, I was sitting in prison for a crime I didn't commit."

Read about his journey from prison to freedom in today's Register. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy a Register daily at a newsstand near you. 

Want to learn more?

Click here to read more about the Ohio Innocence Project, based at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.



Thats our justice system. This man should be paid out of the prosocuters pocket!!

Julie R.

Considering how that Krista Harris said she was threatened to lie in that 1995 drive-by shooting case --- was told to say that DeWitt McDonald was not with her in a motel room during the shooting when he was --- and McDonald got a life sentence out of it, why doesn't he get this Ohio Innocence Project to help him?


Agree Grandpa..this stuff happens too much. Those who persecuted need punished.


I agree. Some Ohio prosecutors and judges need to be punished. Ohio's higher courts would not help this innocent man.
"After serving 20 years in prison for rapes that he had always maintained he did not commit, 46-year-old Roger “Dean” Gillispie walked out of prison into the arms of his mother and father three days before Christmas — thanks to the persistent efforts of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP)"


I am conservative on 99% of things but not the death penalty. Everyday you can see someone released off of a death penalty case that they find innocent. If one innocent person is put to death that is too many. Liberal on one subject only. God decides death not me


@cast the first stone....Until this story, I was for the death penalty. I must say, after reading what you just wrote, I never thought about the death penalty in quite this way before. I always thought that the judge was doing the sentencing and it was his OBLIGATION, not so much his right, to decide death vs life sentence in a case. But after this story and your comment, I have to agree with you. "If one innocent person is put to death, that is too many". Yes, it is. Life in prison would have to do. This man is living proof.


I am glad HE wasn't lynched..


I apologize to this man and the general public, but I cannot wrap my head around sitting in prison for twenty years for something I didn't do. Escape or suicide would be my first two options. There are more, but they are more ugly. I have an imagination that won't quit and we'll leave it at that.

This man needs compensated not only for his time and patience, but for his composure as well.


It makes you want to scream and cry and pull at your own hair! How do you prove a negative???? It is almost inconievable that this would happen, but it does way too much. You cannot give him back his time, his life or his mind. Money won't replace any of that any more than the words he painted going down the toilet.

I admire his tenacity and his ability to survive through all this without losing his last shread of dignity and sanity. The prosecutor should take his place and spend twenty to life instead. Why should the prosecutor get off scott free without any time to serve for what happened? To me, that would be some justice.


Well,it makes me wonder how many innocent people are in prison because of sham prosecutions by your local county prosecutor, Kevin J. Baxter?

AJ Oliver

It is true that police and prosecutors frequently lie and withhold evidence (and conspire, and abuse the awesome power of the government) to obtain convictions, including murder convictions, of people they know to be innocent. They almost never pay any criminal or professional penalty for these most terrible crimes. I'd support a local Innocence Project.


Good comment. I agree. In general, prosecutors don't care if they send innocent people to prison. Prosectors only care about conviction rates. I have seen too much of this already. Judges who agree with these type of prosecutors are either corrupt or incompetent.


Well, that needs to change. They need to be held accountable for their illegal actions and charged accordingly!


Im not trying to play the race card just a question. Why is it when everyone see a white guy they feel angery but when blacks and hispanics come out and say the same thing almost everybody on this blog will bash the he** out of them ? Why must it take somebody white to make some people think is america so blind that they only think minorities are the only ones who commit crimes. Its been proven over and over that minorities are way more likelyto be charged and convicted for a crime they didnt commit.

your babies Daddy's picture
your babies Daddy

your comment makes you look guilty.


Would you care to point out what you are referring to?


Over and over people on here has said i was taking up for the guilty just by saying if they did the crime over and over people on here convict people because they are in the paper. People on here will bring up their record which more times then not is nothing but traffic tickets but they are still convicted on here. We see more comments on here about minorities than about whites even can be the same crime.No i dont have a record but have i had run ins with the law yes. Like i have said in my past i am a former gangmember who was lucky to get out before i hurt someone or was hurt myself. Even in sandusky i know of people that was set up by spd and was convicted. This is the reason why i took up criminal justice as my major. We see a white guy on here and people apologize for something they didnt do. Im glad he will get a second chance at life but its alot more people out there that doesnt look like him that has lost their life and family everything because they are nothing but a minority. Would they get the same respect on here i doubt it!

Julie R.



You are not playing the race card, just pointing out the obvious. Some want to believe it is only minorities that break the law but deep down they have to know that is not true. It is also true whites and white females do less time.....even for the same crime. This should be a wake up all. I say, remain silent!


I can attest to that,deertracker..