State of Conviction: Massachusetts
Race: African American
Wrongful Conviction: Murder
Released Date: 1982
Years Served: 10
Lawyer Johnson was wrongfully sentenced to death by an all-white male jury for the murder of a white victim. Lawyer was the last person sentenced to die in Massachusetts before the Commonwealth abolished capital punishment in 1974. Lawyer did not have a solid alibi for the night James Christian was murdered, so he was arrested and charged with murder, also based on 18-year-old Kenneth Myers’ false testimony. Ten years later, a now 20-year-old young woman named Dawnielle Montiero came forward to the police with a statement. She had witnessed Kenneth Myers shoot James Christian. Myers eventually admitted to defense investigators that he lied about Johnson’s role. A court judge ordered the state to either retry or set Johnson free, but unfortunately to this day has yet to be fully exonerated.
Source: Witness to Innocence
Read more about Lawyer’s story here.