After a decision by Judge David Mason on Tuesday, Lamar Johnson, 50, was able to leave the courthouse in St. Louis without being imprisoned.
The court said that he took action after receiving “clear and persuasive proof” from two witnesses that Mr. Johnson was innocent.
In 1994, he had been found guilty of killing Marcus Boyd.
After the decision was revealed, Mr. Johnson appeared affected, and his fans began to applaud.
When exiting the courtroom, Mr. Johnson exclaimed, “This is overwhelming.”
After working with the non-profit legal organization Innocence Project to conduct an investigation, attorney Kim Gardner submitted a motion last year asking for the release of Mr. Johnson.
Johnson’s Defence Team Criticized The State Attorney General’s Office
Following the hearing on Tuesday, Mr. Johnson’s defense team criticized the state attorney general’s office for pushing to keep him behind bars.
According to Mr. Johnson’s counsel, the office “never stopped asserting Lamar was guilty and was content to have him suffer and die in prison.”
In an email, a representative for the attorney general’s office stated that the office will not pursue the matter further.
The statement read, “Our office upheld the initial verdict that a jury of Johnson’s peers believed to be appropriate based on the facts presented at trial and maintained the rule of law.”
In October 1994, two hooded individuals shot and killed Marcus Boyd on Mr. Johnson’s front porch.
Mr. Johnson has stated time and time again that he was not at home during the attack.
As one witness changed his story and an inmate admitted that he shot Boyd alongside another suspect, Phil Campbell, Judge Mason made his decision.
Campbell admitted confessed to a lesser charge at the initial trial and received a seven-year prison term.