The Baltimore man maintained his innocence but was convicted of murdering Aaron Taylor in July 1988 inside a bar. Johnson was convicted on the testimony of a 15-year-old girl who accused him of shooting the victim.
Johnson tried at least 15 times to have his conviction overturned. City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that the Innocence Project along with the testimony of two co-defendants who said Johnson wasn’t there, helped to get the conviction reversed. The real shooter, who has since died, was also identified.
“Yes, we’re all happy that you are finally home, but we also need to recognize that it shouldn’t take this long. That when the system inevitably makes mistakes, it needs to be able to correct them and it needs to have the humility to do so,” said Shawn Armbrust, of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.
Mosby dropped all the charges and offered Johnson an apology.
“So, on behalf of the criminal justice system, I must tell you I apologize to you and your family for the pain that you’ve endured because of this wrongful conviction,” Mosby said.
Once released, Johnson was thankful and embraced his attorney Nancy Forster for working tirelessly on the release.
“I’m happy. I’m going to move on with my life,” Johnson said.