Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Man sentenced to life in prison goes free after Missouri judge overturns his sentence

After serving nearly three decades of a life sentence, Lamar Johnson is officially free for a crime he always insisted he didn’t commit.

“This is unbelievable,” he told reporters in the courthouse after the conviction was overturned.

Missouri Circuit Judge David Mason reversed Johnson’s sentence on Tuesday, saying there was compelling and reliable evidence of “real innocence” to overturn the conviction.

St. Louis Circuit Prosecutor Kim Gardner, who works in conjunction with the Innocence Project, filed a motion seeking Johnson’s release in August.

In 1994, Johnson was convicted of murder for the killing of Marcus Boyd, who was shot and killed on his porch by two masked men. Boyd’s death arose from a dispute over drug money, police and prosecutors investigating the case said. Johnson maintained her innocence from the start, citing her girlfriend as an alibi, and claimed that he was miles away with her when the crime was committed.

Johnson also said he went out for a few minutes to sell drugs on a corner several blocks from where the victim was killed, AP News reported.

The judge decided to revisit Johnson’s case after a key witness and inmate confessed to killing Boyd, affirming Johnson’s innocence.

James Howard, the key witness, admitted to shooting Boyd in the back of the head and neck while accompanying second suspect Phil Campbell, who was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty.

Howard, who was never charged with the murder, is currently serving a life sentence for murder and other crimes that occurred years after Boyd was killed. During a week-long hearing in December, Howard took the stand, once again admitting that he and Campbell, who has since died, killed Boyd that night in front of St. Louis Circuit Prosecutor Gardner. Howard said he came forward because he felt guilty about putting Johnson in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

Gardner is currently looking into whether or not Howard should be charged with Boyd’s murder, as reported by the Kansas City Star.

Another man, James Gregory Elking, also testified that he was on the porch with Boyd when the two gunmen attacked. Initially, Elking testified that he could not identify the gunmen, but he was forced to pick someone from a line of people. Elking named Johnson as one of the killers. He later retracted this testimony.

Johnson’s girlfriend Erika Barrow confirmed these details. Barrow testified that she was with Johnson all night, except during a brief five-minute stint when she left to do a drug deal at a nearby house. Barrow noted that the distance between the friend’s house and Boyd’s house would have made it impossible for Johnson to get there and back in five minutes.

Lamar Johnson, center and his attorneys react after St. Louis Circuit Judge David Mason vacated his murder conviction during a hearing, Feb. 14, 2023, in St. Louis.

Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, Pool

After the Missouri Supreme Court denied Johnson’s request for a retrial in March 2021 — saying Gardner did not have the authority to seek one — a state law was passed to make it easier for prosecutors to get rehearsals .

The law helped free Kevin Strickland, another longtime inmate who had been jailed for more than 40 years for a Kansas City triple homicide.

A statement from Johnson’s legal team said: “While today brings joy, nothing can restore all that the state has stolen from him. Nothing will make up for the nearly three decades he lost while he was separated from his daughters and his family.”

Johnson said he plans to reconnect with his family and have experiences he says he was unfairly denied for nearly 30 years while in prison.

Johnson’s attorneys said the state attorney general was satisfied with the initial conviction, ignoring Johnson’s plea of ​​innocence.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general defended her actions but said she would honor the judge’s decision.

“As he stated when he was sworn in, Attorney General Bailey is committed to enforcing laws as written. Our office championed the rule of law and worked to uphold the original verdict which a jury of Johnson’s colleagues found appropriate based on the facts presented at the trial,” said AG Bailey press secretary Madeline Sieren in a statement. a declaration.

“The court has spoken and no further action will be taken in this case.”

Content Source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button