When the police knocked on his door, it never crossed Konrad Montgomery's mind that they were there for him.
The authorities were looking for a suspect in an armed robbery that took place on Detroit's east side, and a cell phone involved in the situation was traced back to Montgomery. The robbery occurred roughly 11 miles from where Montgomery claimed to be at the time of the incident. But since he was making money by selling used cell phones, he was caught up in the case.
Montgomery was tried and convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder. He spent nearly three years in prison before he was exonerated.
"You only realize it happens when it happens to you or someone close to you," Montgomery said. "I had no idea innocent people went to jail until I was the innocent person in jail."
Montgomery joined Stateside to tell his story of how he lost nearly three years of his life for a crime he did not commit and how difficult it was to prove his innocence.
It started when Montgomery bought a used cell phone that turned out to be stolen from the victim of an armed robbery. Montgomery's cell phone data showed that he was not in the vicinity of the robbery when it occurred. But the prosecution argued that since he was very savvy when it came to cell phones, he could have manipulated his phone to cover his tracks. Montgomery calls the prosecution's argument "imagination stuff."
"I'm sitting in trial baffled, like innocent people don't go to jail. That was my first thought. Like, they're going to figure this out. Somebody's going to come question me, and I'm going to straighten this out for them. But that never happened," Montgomery said.
The "imagination stuff" that Montgomery described was enough to convince the jury, and he was sentenced to 12 to 25 years in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder.
"My heart dropped. My head flew back, 'I can't believe this shit, are you serious?'" Montgomery said. "But I'm a dedicated person. I knew it. I knew I wasn't going to stay in prison."
He wrote the judge, the prosecutor, and even the victim in the case, who picked him out of a photo lineup with the police. He wanted to look the victim in the eye so he could tell him that he "had the wrong guy." None of those efforts helped, so he "dug in deep" to prove his innocence.
Montgomery wrote to experts, he recruited friends and family on the outside to do research for him so he could work on his case. He got a reply from Scott Ross who was based in California. Ross sent him information on how to read cell phone evidence, which laid the foundation for Montgomery to prove his innocence.
Montgomery was exonerated in July of 2016 after nearly three years in prison. He said his biggest regret was losing that time with his children, who were just three and five years old when he was imprisoned.
Listen to the full interview above to hear how Montgomery is attempting to put his life together after regaining his freedom.