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USA. Lamar Johnson acquitted after 28 years. The real murderer confessed because he felt remorse

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A Missouri district court overturned the life sentence of Lamar Johnson, now 50, after 28 years, US media reported. The man was found guilty of murder in 1994 despite having an alibi, and a key witness later retracted his testimony. The case was reconsidered because years later the real murderer confessed.

Lamar Johnson’s conviction was overturned on Tuesday, February 14. Missouri District Judge David Mason explained that there was convincing and credible evidence of the man’s “factual innocence”. The decision came about six months after the district attorney’s office filed a motion to release the 50-year-old from prison.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lamar Johnson, who spent 28 years behind bars, told reporters in a St. Louis court. As you can see in the recordings and photos taken during the trial, the man was very moved by Tuesday’s verdict. – Mr. Johnson, thank you, you’re free. It’s Valentine’s Day and this moment is historic,” Kim Gardner, the prosecutor who asked for the man’s release, said after the trial.

Lamar Johnson acquitted after 28 yearsGetty Images

SEE ALSO: Wrongly convicted, served 28 years, died at the funeral of a friend. “He didn’t enjoy his freedom”

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Lamar Johnson acquitted after 28 years

In 1994, Lamar Johnson was charged with the murder of Marcus Boyd, who was shot and killed by two masked assailants on the front porch of Johnson’s home. According to the police, Boyd’s death was the result of a feud related to drug dealing.

Johnson has maintained his innocence from the beginning. He assured that at the time of the murder he was not at home, but a few kilometers away with his girlfriend. At the same time, he admitted that that evening he went out for a few minutes to sell drugs to a friend. They met at this friend’s house a few blocks from the murder site. Johnson’s girlfriend confirmed his alibi. There was also no physical evidence proving the man’s guilt. Johnson was found guilty in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison.

At the time, investigators relied mainly on the testimony of a witness, James Elking, who identified Johnson as one of the killers. According to CNN, in the course of the investigation, it was established that Johnson was identified only at the second hearing, and the witness received $4,000 from the prosecutor’s office as “compensation” for his testimony. Later, the witness withdrew his testimony, but this did not change the verdict.

A murderer’s remorse

Key to Johnson’s release from prison was the confession of James Howard, who in December 2022 told investigators that he had killed Boyd. Howard, already serving a life sentence for another murder, admitted that he shot the victim twice in 1994. He also confirmed that he was accompanied to the crime scene only by Phil Campbell, who in exchange for a reduction of his sentence to seven years in prison confessed to his involvement in the murder. Campbell is no longer alive, but, according to ABC News, before his death, he also stated in writing that Johnson had no connection to the crime.

James Howard stated that he chose to plead guilty to killing Boyd because he felt guilty that Johnson had gone to prison for a crime he did not commit. Prosecutors are currently investigating whether Howard should be charged with additional murder charges based on new information in the 1994 homicide case.

SEE ALSO: He was a teenager, convicted of rape. He waited 36 years in prison for DNA tests

ABC News, CNN, “New York Post”

Main photo source: Getty Images

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