Lamar Johnson, 33, is now a free man after spending 13 years in jail for a crime he did not commit.
On Tuesday, the Conviction Integrity Unity announced it would agree to vacate the conviction and dismiss all charges against Johnson, who was charged with murder.
“This case cried out for intervention, and we’re thrilled that the state did the right thing,” said Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Mid-Atlantic Innocent Project (MAIP) Legal Director. “The criminal justice system had failed Lamar every step of the way until today, so it’s a tremendous relief to see the system finally right this wrong.”
Johnson was convicted in 2004 after a man was shot several times in broad daylight. No physical evidence connected him to the crime, but he became the only suspect when an informant identified the shooter by a nickname.
Johnson was misidentified as that person, even though he did not share the nickname. Two teenagers identified Johnson as the killer, but their testimony was not completely sound.
Despite a weak case and evidence pointing to the real killer, Johnson was still prosecuted and convicted.
The MAIP has been working on Johnson's case for the last seven years.
“Lamar’s case underscores the benefits of true collaboration between innocence organizations and real, robust conviction review units that look beyond procedural problems and dig for the truth,” said Shawn Armbrust, MAIP Executive Director. “This case should serve as a model for other units around the country.”
In 2016 MAIP brought the case to the Conviction Integrity Unit, who investigated the case and resulted in his convictions being vacated.