David Clark - Ohio Innocence Project
David Clark was convicted of a crime he did not commit at the age of fifteen.
In April of 1991, David and a group of his friends, all minors, discovered smoke coming from a house in the neighborhood and ran to it to help. The fire severe injured a mother who lived in the house, and her 12-year-old child was killed. The investigating police officers erroneously believed that David and his friends started the fire and began to interrogate them, using deception and coercion. Although David refused to lie or take responsibility for a crime he did not commit, some of his friends succumbed to the pressure. Their testimony was introduced at trial in 1992. David was wrongfully convicted of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, aggravated arson, and aggravated burglary.
After rounds of appeals and hard-fought legal battles in both state and federal court, thirty years after his wrongful conviction, David was offered a “dark plea deal,” in which he was given the opportunity to plead to lesser offenses and walk free instead of gamble with his appeal. Despite robust evidence of his innocence, David recognized a loss would mean spending the rest of his life behind bars as an innocent man. He agreed to the plea deal.
David became as a free man in June of 2022, free to pursue his interests in politics, economics, ancient history, and social justice. In his freedom, he has reunited with his family, purchased a home, and become a small business owner.
You can read David’s own words and perspective here