After spending 28 years in jail, the person was let out.
Lamar Johnson, 50, was found not guilty of murder on Tuesday, after spending almost 28 years in jail for the crime.
Johnson has said he had nothing to do with the death of his friend Marcus Boyd, who was 25 years old and died in 1994.
David Mason, a judge in Missouri, said that the proof was “so strong that it was clear that Johnson was innocent.”
Two hours after the decision on February 14, Johnson left the courthouse lobby, thanked the judge and everyone who had worked on his case, and turned down any more interviews.
After an investigation by the Innocence Project, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner thought Johnson was telling the truth. She asked for his release in August and is now happy about the decision.
How are you doing? Thank you. “You’re free,” she told the journalists.
Gardner suggested that Johnson talk to his lawyer and his family.
She said that it was an important Valentine’s Day.
Johnson went to jail because the state’s top lawyer, who is a Republican, put him there.
In an email, the office’s spokeswoman Madeline Sieren stated that the investigation will be finished.
She said that the department was still committed to putting Johnson in jail.
“As he stated when he took office, Attorney General (Andrew) Bailey is committed to upholding the” law. Sieren, write.
The jury of Johnson’s peers’ original decision was upheld because our office “protected the rule of law” by doing so.
At the hearing, Johnson’s lawyers said that the state attorney general’s office “never stopped saying Lamar was guilty and was happy to let him waste away and die in prison.”
“Yet, when this State’s top law enforcement office could no longer avoid a courtroom, it didn’t do anything to contradict the huge amount of evidence that the circuit attorney and Lamar Johnson had gathered,” they wrote.
Johnson’s lawyers say that all he wants is to get out of jail so he can spend time with his family and do things he wasn’t allowed to do while he was locked up.
Even though he is happy now, it can’t make up for what the government took from him yesterday. They said that he will never be able to make up for the nearly 30 years he spent away from his children and family.
People who didn’t like two young Black men from Chicago’s South Side kept or didn’t look at the proof at his trial that would have shown he was innocent.
Since DNA didn’t play a role in the case, Johnson won’t get any money.
In Missouri, exonerees don’t get paid very often.
Marcus Boyd was shot and killed by two unknown people in October 1994. Johnson was found guilty of murder in the case.
Authorities and lawyers say that the murder was done to get drug money.
Johnson said that both he and his girlfriend were there when the thing happened.
Phil Campbell, another suspect, got seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a lesser crime than the one that got him caught in the first place.
In December, Johnson “stated that he was with his girlfriend the night of the crime, except for a few minutes when he” sold “drugs on a corner a few blocks away from where the victim” died.
Erika Barrow, who used to date Johnson, said in court that she was with him the whole night, except for a five-minute break when he sold drugs. She said that it would take Johnson longer than five minutes to get to and from Boyd’s friend’s house.
The key witness for the prosecution changed his story, and a prisoner said that he, not Johnson, was the one who killed Campbell.
Three years after Boyd was killed, James Howard, who was 46 at the time, was found guilty of murder and other charges.
He said that Boyd and Campbell robbed the store because Boyd owed money to a friend from selling drugs. Johnson was also not in the room.
Howard said that Campbell shot Boyd in the side, then in the neck, and then in the back.
Howard and Campbell signed statements in which they both said they were involved in the crime but said that Johnson was to blame. Campbell was gone.
In December, James Gregory Elking said that he and Boyd were on the front porch trying to buy crack cocaine when two men in ski masks started shooting.
Before he went to jail for robbing a bank, Elking told police that he didn’t know who did it.
Despite that, he kept an eye on the line. Elking said that when he couldn’t pick out a gunman from a “lineup, Detective Joseph Nickerson told him, “I know you know who it is,” and asked him to “help get these men off the street.”
Elking said” that the shooter was Johnson after being “bullied” and “pressured.” A representative for Gardner said that Elking was paid at least $4,000.
He later said, “It’s haunting me” that he had put Johnson in jail.
Nickerson said that he did not put any stress on Elking. In December, he swore that Elking could tell Johnson was the shooter just by looking at his eyes. Nickerson said that Johnson’s eyes were not the same as his. It is so obvious!
Dwight Warren, who was in charge of prosecuting Johnson in 1995, said that a conversation that took place in a detention cell was the main piece of proof against him. Campbell and Johnson were overheard by another inmate, William Mock, saying, “We should have shot that white boy,” “referring to Elking. Mock later told the” police what Campbell and Johnson had said.
Warren also said that without Mock’s evidence, Johnson’s conviction “would have been iffy.”