LaMonte Armstrong: Free After 17 Years
(as of October 2012): On June 29, 2012, LaMonte Armstrong was freed by a N.C. judge after serving nearly 17 years for a crime he did not commit. Please donate today.
Mr. Armstrong remains in need of financial assistance of basic needs such as food, grocery, clothing and other items.
Mr. Armstrong works for a non-profit in North Carolina as a drug counselor, but he is paid the minimum wage. He has begun rebuilding his life by obtaining necessary documents such as his birth certificate and his social security card.
But, his life remains largely the same - he lives in a halfway house, survives on food stamps, and walks miles to and from work.
Note: Donations are not tax-deductible, nor are being contributed to Duke University or any of its affiliates. Donations are being made to one of Mr. Armstrong's counsel who will coordinate donations directly with Mr. Armstrong.
Here are further details regarding Mr. Armstrong's case:
Mr. Armstrong's August 1995 conviction arose from death of Ernestine Compton, who was stabbed and strangled with an electrical cord in North Carolina in July 1988. Despite the lack of any physical evidence or eyewitnesses linking Mr. Armstrong to the crime, he was convicted based on the testimony of jailhouse informants, nearly all of whom have recanted their statements.
Mr. Armstrong maintained his innocence over the years, and sought assistance from the Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic to prove his claim. The Clinic, led by its co-directors and Duke Law professors Theresa Newman and James Coleman, conducted a thorough investigation, with the help of students and alumni, and found that the State had missed key evidence and facts.
In preparing for a hearing on the Clinic's motion for a new trial, the State submitted latent palm prints from the crime scene. Though the prints returned no matches in the original investigation, this time there was a match to another individual who died in a June 2010 traffic accident. The State concurred in a joint request to overturn Mr. Armstrong's conviction, order a new trial, and grant Mr. Armstrong's release, all of which the Court ordered on June 29, 2012.
The judge who released Mr. Armstrong said he often wonders if he is actually "doing justice," but when he ruled for Mr. Armstrong, he said it was probably the "closest to knowing I'm doing justice, in my career, I will ever experience."
Mr. Armstrong's exoneration has since gained extensive news coverage by international, national, and state/local outlets, such as the Huffington Post, CBS News, the Greensboro, N.C. News & Record, and Duke Law.
YouTube video by Ryan Richards of Ironclad Media Productions