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Lamarr Monson

David Moran and LaMarr Monson
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


One week ago, a Wayne County judge told LaMarr Monson to go enjoy his life. In 1996, Monson was wrongfully convicted of killing a 12-year-old Detroit girl named Christina Brown. 

In February 2017, 21 years and 12 days later, a judge overturned his murder conviction, and he walked free. Last week, Wayne County dismissed new murder charges.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

After the judge dismissed the murder charge against him, and advised LaMarr Monson to go enjoy his life, he held his sobbing mother in the hallway just outside the courtroom for a long time.

Delores Monson never gave up on her “baby son,” now 45 years old. For years, she tried to convince people her baby was innocent.

“Different prosecutors, judges, lawyers, I’ve been to so many people it’s not even funny. But I thank God for Jesus. And I thank God that my son is home. And he’s free!” she shouts, beaming ear to ear.

“He’s free! He’s free! He’s free!”

Lamarr Monson and his mother, Delores, just after his release from jail.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit man convicted of murder more than 20 years ago walked free on Wednesday.

A Wayne County judge overturned Lamarr Monson’s conviction for killing a 12-year-old girl earlier this week.

That was after years of legal and investigative work unearthed new eyewitness testimony and fingerprint evidence pointing to another killer.

Monson confessed to killing Christina Brown. But he later insisted he was tricked into confessing by Detroit police, and fought for years to have his conviction overturned.

Michigan Dept of Corrections

Lamarr Monson is a step closer to being a free man, after serving nearly two decades in prison for a murder he likely didn’t commit.

A Wayne County judge today ordered a new trial in Monson’s case. New evidence suggests a different man used a toilet tank lid to bludgeon a 12-year-old girl to death in 1996.

Monson was arrested by police shortly after the murder of Christina Brown. 

Lamarr Monson takes notes in court during final arguments to overturn his murder conviction.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Lawyers made their final arguments in court Wednesday, but it will take more than a month for a Wayne County judge to decide whether Lamarr Monson deserves a new trial.

Monson confessed to the 1996 murder of Christina Brown, a 12-year-old runaway. The two lived and sold drugs together out of an apartment on Detroit’s west side, though Monson and others say Brown told people she was 17.

But Monson later said that Detroit police tricked and coerced him into confessing. And his lawyers say it bears the hallmarks of a false confession.

Lamarr Monson is fighting for a new trial in a 1996 murder case
MDOC

A Detroit man imprisoned for a brutal killing in 1996 is fighting for a new trial this week.

Lamarr Monson was convicted of murdering a 12-year-old girl, Christina Brown, who may have been his girlfriend and allegedly sold drugs with him. He confessed, but later said police coerced him.

Bill Proctor (right) with Walter Swift, who spent 26 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Bill Proctor

Bill Proctor retired after he spent 33 years as a well-known Detroit television reporter.

But rather than focus on his golf game, he's using his skills as an investigative reporter and a former law enforcement officer to help criminal cases where he believes the person has been wrongly convicted.

To accomplish that, he launched the organization Proving Innocence. As he sees it, the organization helps overturn some of the wrongs done by our criminal justice system.