Lamar Johnson

  • Exonerated: February 14, 2023
  • County of Conviction: St Louis City, MO
  • Convicted of: First degree murder
  • Sentence: Life without parole
  • Years Served: 26+

In the state of Missouri, when is innocence enough to earn a man’s freedom? 


That question is at the heart of Lamar Johnson’s case. He’s been wrongfully incarcerated for more than a quarter-century, despite the prosecutor’s office that convicted him now saying that his case was littered with official misconduct, and he deserves a new trial. Two other men have confessed to the murder for which Lamar was convicted.


Still, Lamar waits for justice. All parties agree that Lamar is innocent. What they don’t agree on is whether that fact can earn him freedom, under Missouri law.  


In 2018, the St. Louis conviction integrity unit found a plethora of reasons Lamar deserves a new trial, at the least, if not his unequivocal freedom: 


  • Undisclosed payments by police to a key eyewitness
  • Credible confessions from two other men 
  • Prosecutor’s failure to disclose a jailhouse informant’s criminal history
  • Police officers lying and hiding exculpatory evidence


After St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner filed a motion for a new trial in July 2019, the local judge said prosecutors don’t have the authority to retroactively correct a wrongful conviction. 


The Missouri Supreme Court has since upheld that decision. 


Lamar has spent more than 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit — and a crime even the prosecutors have said he did not commit. And MIP will keep fighting for that innocence to be enough in the eyes of the law, so that Lamar can come back home to his daughters, Kierra and Brittany, as well as the rest of his family and loved ones.


Hallmarks of wrongful conviction present in this case: 


  • Rampant official and prosecutorial misconduct 
  • Flawed eyewitness testimony
  • The use of jailhouse informants to secure conviction


Media and News Coverage: 


Further reading on Lamar’s case: 



What can you do to help? 


  • Contact the Missouri governor’s office to ask for a pardon of Lamar
  • Support Missouri legislation that would allow prosecutor’s offices to correct wrongful convictions
  • Donate to MIP as we continue to fight for Lamar’s freedom.