Finally, the nightmare is over! A Baltimore man named Lamar Johnson, was convicted and sentenced to life, for a murder he did not commit.
Throughout going through his case and throughout his time in prison, Johnson always maintained his innocence. A judge this past Tuesday, threw out his wrongful conviction after three new witnesses came forward to state that Johnson was not the man who killed Carlos Sawyer in 2004. After spending 14 years in prison, Johnson was able to walk out of the courtroom this past Tuesday, a free man.
Johnson called his release a “fresh start” from all of his past mistakes, which did not include murder.
“First, I want to thank God for blessing me with my freedom, then I want to thank my mother for always having my back and believing in my innocence,” he said outside the courthouse.
This is a case of mistaken identity. After the fatal shooting, the police made Johnson the main target of their investigation because he had the same nickname as the alleged suspect, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, legal director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, told The Sun that these types of cases have numerous obstacles, including overcoming a culture that discourages snitching.
They hunted down a number of possible witnesses and discovered one man who saw the shooter. Later, another man revealed that he heard someone confess. The third witness said the gunman ran past her after the shooting.
The newspaper said Johnson is the second man exonerated during Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby’s tenure. Her office cooperated with the organization.
In a statement, she apologized to Johnson and his family on behalf of the city’s criminal justice system, according to WJZ-TV.
“It is my hope that now that he is set free, that he is able to return home, heal, adjust to his rightly-deserved freedom, and live his life to its fullest potential,” she said, noting that her office is “committed to pursuing justice equally and fairly.”
Mosby also stated that her office will work with law enforcement to track down and convict the man who killed Sawyer.