Man falsely accused of murder freed after 13 years in prison

Man falsely accused of murder freed after 13 years in prison

Imagine being arrested, put on trial, and found guilty of a crime you didn’t commit. That was the nightmare that Lamar Johnson has been living through for the past 13 years. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. This month he was freed for being wrongly convicted. He’s an innocent man.

What happened?

In 2004, a man named Carlos Sawyer was shot in broad daylight in East Baltimore. Hours after the shooting police were given a nickname by an informant. Police traced the nickname to Johnson. Two teen witnesses also identified Johnson as the killer, but their testimony had a lot of problems. There was no physical proof that Johnson was the murderer, and police couldn’t establish a motive. Sawyer’s own family didn’t believe that Johnson was the killer, and another credible witness actually said that the killer was someone else, and named the man. Despite all of this Johnson was found guilty. Over the past 13 years, he has always maintained his innocence.

How did everyone learn he was innocent?

Johnson saw a poster while imprisoned about the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP). MAIP works “to prevent and correct the conviction of innocent people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.” Johnson wrote to them saying that he was innocent. MAIP took on his case in 2010 and started investigating. Their investigation turned up three new witnesses who said that Johnson wasn’t the killer. These witnesses also corroborated what the original witness said about the killer being someone else.

In 2016 MAIP brought the findings of their investigation to the Conviction Integrity Unit. The Conviction Integrity Unit then did their own investigation. Once it was completed they agreed with MAIP’s findings and joined the request to make void Johnson’s conviction.

What about the real killer?

There’s no news on the identity of the real killer of Carlos Sawyer. It’s saddening for the Sawyer family, as there’s currently no justice to be found for the death of their loved one.
They say justice is blind and sometimes that means that the court system makes terrible mistakes, like in this case. Johnson has lost 13 years of his life all over a mistaken identity. While is prison Johnson completed his GED and plans on helping other people who have been falsely accused.