After serving nearly three decades of a life sentence, Lamar Johnson officially walks free for a crime he has always insisted he did not commit.
“This is unbelievable,” he told reporters in the courthouse lobby after the conviction was overturned.
On Tuesday, Missouri Circuit Judge David Mason vacated Johnson’s sentence, stating that there was convincing and reliable evidence of “actual innocence” to overturn the conviction.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, working 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 to death on his front porch by two masked men. Boyd’s death arose from a dispute over drug money, said police and prosecutors investigating the case. Johnson maintained his innocence from the beginning, citing his girlfriend as an alibi, and claimed he was with her miles away when the crime was committed.
Johnson also stated that he stepped outside for a few minutes to sell drugs on a corner several blocks from where the victim was killed, as reported by AP News.
The judge decided to revisit Johnson’s case after a key witness and prison inmate confessed to killing Boyd, affirming Johnson’s innocence.
James Howard, the key witness, admitted that he shot Boyd in the back of head and neck, while accompanying the second suspect Phil Campbell, who was sentenced to a seven-year term after pleading guilty.
Howard, who was never charged in the murder, is currently serving a life sentence for murder and other crimes which occurred years after Boyd was killed. During a weeklong hearing in December, Howard took the stand, again admitting that he and Campbell, who has since died, killed Boyd that night before St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gardner. Howard said he came forward because he felt guilty for putting Johnson in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Gardner is currently reviewing 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 saying he was on the front porch with Boyd when the two gunmen attacked. Initially, Elking testified that he couldn’t identify the gunmen, but was pressured to pick someone from a lineup of people. Elking named Johnson as one of the killers. He later recanted this testimony.
This is an excerpt only. Read the full story here.
MAGA Pen 2024!
Are you ready to SUPPORT our President and prove, once again, that WE can Make America Great Again?
Owning the MAGA Pen 2024 will make you a true patriot. 2024 is near, get ready to give your vote with the victory Pen, the Pen that will write down the History one more time and Make America Great Again.