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After spending 28 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, Lamar Johnson is a free man

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Lamar Johnson celebrates being released from custody on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at the Carnahan Courthouse — a part of Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Circuit — in downtown St. Louis. Johnson was released after being convicted and jailed for nearly 30 years for a murder he did not commit.
Brian Munoz
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Lamar Johnson celebrates being released from custody on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at the Carnahan Courthouse — a part of Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Circuit — in downtown St. Louis. Johnson was released after being convicted and jailed for nearly 30 years for a murder he did not commit.

A judge in St. Louis ruled on Tuesday that Lamar Johnson should be freed after two people provided testimony that absolved Johnson in the 1994 killing of Marcus Boyd.

Lamar Johnson spent 28 years in prison for a 1994 murder he did not commit. On Tuesday, a Missouri judge freed him following a December testimony from a man named James Howard who confessed that he committed the murder.

St. Louis Public Radio's Brian Munoz was present as the judge read Johnson's ruling at the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. Munoz said that everyone was "on pins and needles" as they awaited Circuit Judge David Mason's judgment — but that feeling quickly turned into jubilation as Johnson learned he was a free man.

"As soon as (Judge Mason) delivered it, there was an audible cheering and applause that just filled the courtroom," said Munoz. "And Lamar just immediately went over to hug his legal team because this day was 28 years coming."

Munoz said Johnson, on the day of his release, spoke of how he wanted to get on a plane to go see the ocean, and wants to ride a trolley he saw in downtown St. Louis.

"I think one of the most heartwarming points that he mentioned was he's excited to walk his daughter down the aisle this coming April," said Munoz. "She and her fiancé are about to get married, and this couldn't have come at a better time."

  • Brian Munoz, photojournalist at St. Louis Public Radio
  • Chad Davis, general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio
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