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Family embraces LaMarr Monson as murder charge against him dismissed: “He’s free! He’s free!”

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
LaMarr Monson's family congratulates him after he was exonerated Friday morning.

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!”

Today prosecutors dismissed the murder case against the Detroit native, who spent 22 years in prison.

They say LaMarr Monson won't be charged again because of destructed or lost evidence, issues with how police obtained his confession and the passage of time. Worthy cites similar reasons for not charging another man whose fingerprints were found on a bloody toilet tank lid and whom a former girlfriend accused of actually committing the crime.

Monson walked to freedom in February after his second-degree murder conviction was set aside based on new evidence presented by a witness with crucial information also stepped forward.

Monson says he remembers being behind bars and imagining this day would come.

“I know these types of situations encourage guys that are incarcerated and shouldn’t be. Hopefully that gives them some sense of hope that, you know, not all is lost and they still have an opportunity to get out,” Monson said.

Monson says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family and to “a sense of normalcy” now. He’s got a 26-year-old daughter and a granddaughter under five. He’s getting used to using technology and working again.

“It’s crazy. Very surreal right now,” Monson said. “I’m just so thankful. I want to give God the glory.”

Monson is the 16th case students and professors at the University of Michigan law school’s Michigan Innocence Clinic have won.

“Collectively, they served, 13 men, three women served almost 200 years of wrongful incarceration and we have many, many more of these cases in the pipeline,” the group’s founder, David Moran, said.

“I guarantee you there are going to be more. I’m working on four right now,” Bill Procter, an investigator and former journalist said. He remembers covering the murder.

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.

“It was just another horrific crime in the city of Detroit. But that was 1996. So I the next day was off to another story. Then, 60 days before my retirement, I get a call from the woman who was with the killer and the killer was not LaMarr Monson,” Proctor said. He’s been trying to get Monson out of prison ever since.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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