Ralph Blaine Smith has served more than two decades of a 67-year sentence behind bars. He was released in 2021.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After nearly 20 years behind bars, Ralph Blaine Smith will receive $1.3 million in restitution from the state of Ohio.

Smith has served more than two decades of a 67-year sentence behind bars. He was released in 2021.

Smith told 10TV that he misses the little things, like getting his own food and wearing the clothes he wants.

“Such little things… mean everything to you. It means a lot just to be free,” he said.

Smith said he was accused of being one of two black men who robbed the home Pickerington February 2, 2000

Smith said he was the only person charged. He spent years in Marion Correctional Institution.

Smith knew he was innocent and just had to find a way to prove it. He said he then went to the prison’s law library to find a way.

“I couldn’t stand a minute of being there. I have had many similar times. I thought if another minute passed I was going to go crazy and lose my mind,” Smith said.

In 2020, he sent a letter to Joseph Landuska, a defender.

“When I read about his case and started to get into it, I really believed that there wasn’t even a crime in this case,” Landusky said.

He said another judge in Fairfield County ordered a new trial in 2021 because there was evidence prosecutors withheld from the first trial.

Landusky said another prosecutor, who was not involved in the first trial, decided to drop all charges rather than pursue a second trial.

“There’s no amount of money anyone would spend to spend 20 years in prison,” Landusky said. “But it makes the situation a little easier, and there’s no other way to measure the damage.”

Smith said he knows there are so many other people behind bars with similar stories to his.

“I’m always grateful and happy that I was able to do this,” Smith said.

He said he wants to advocate for those who don’t have the right to vote. Landusky said the next step is for them to file a federal lawsuit.

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