COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge says Ohio can't force a convicted killer to cut off his dreadlocks, calling it a violation of religious rights.

U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan (gon) sided with inmate Deon Glenn, who says his faith of Rastafarianism requires him to wear his hair in dreadlocks.

Gaughan's ruling Monday said Ohio's blanket policy against dreadlocks in prison violates the law because it doesn't permit a religious exemption, and the state didn't prove Glenn's hair couldn't be searched for contraband or is a safety risk.

The judge limited her decision to Glenn and said other similar complaints should be analyzed individually. A prison's spokeswoman declined to comment.

Law students at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University sued on behalf of the 29-year-old Glenn, who is serving 15 years to life on a murder charge.