‘I Did Not Do It’: Man Spends 26 Years In Jail For Murder He Denies |TimeTestedNews

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Lamar Johnson has spent 26 years behind prison bars for a murder he says he did not commit. The case hit another roadblock on Tuesday when the Missouri Supreme Court denied to grant him a new trial.

The case “is not about whether Johnson is innocent or whether there exists a remedy for someone who is innocent and did not receive a constitutionally fair trial,” the ruling stated.

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“This case presents only the issue of whether any authority can appeal the dismissal of a motion for a new trial that was filed decades after a criminal conviction became final.

“No such authority exists, therefore this Court dismisses the appeal,” the ruling stated.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has sought a new trial for Johnson, who was convicted in the 1994 murder case of 25-year-old Marcus Boyd in an alleged drug dispute in St. Louis. Gardner, a Democrat who was elected in 2016 and reelected last year, stated that  she is duty bound to correct past wrongs, including what she believes is the wrongful conviction of Johnson.

Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt office argued  successfully that Gardner does not have the authority to seek a new trial so many years after Lamar Johnson’s case was adjudicated. It’s unclear if Gardner will appeal the U.S. Supreme Court. Representatives of Gardner and Schmitt said they would put forward their statements later Tuesday.

Johnson was convicted of killing Boyd over a $40 drug debt and was given a life sentence while another suspect, Phil Campbell, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for a seven-year prison term.Lamar  has claimed his innocence for a long time. Gardner agreed with his alibi that he was with his girlfriend miles away when Boyd was murdered.

Meanwhile, years after the killing, the state’s only witness recanted his identification of Johnson and Campbell as the shooters. Two other men have confessed to Boyd’s killing and said Johnson was not in anyway involved.

Gardner asked for a new trial in July 2019 after investigating Johnson’s case in collaboration with his lawyers at the Midwest Innocence Project. She said there was misconduct by one of her office’s past prosecutors, that secret payments were given to the witness. Also that the police reports were falsified and testimony perjured.

The former prosecutor and the detective who had  investigated the case rejected Gardner’s allegations.