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Baltimore man freed after spending 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit

Posted at 9:41 AM, Jul 02, 2018

A Baltimore-area man has been cleared of a murder conviction that wrongly kept him behind bars for 30 years.

The Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) at the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office vacated the conviction of Jerome Johnson on Monday.

Johnson was convicted in 1988 for his involvement in the shooting of a man at a Baltimore liquor store. 

On July 14, 1988 Aaron Taylor was shot and killed near the Night Owl Bar. Witnesses said the victim had been arguing with men out on the street when one attempted to shoot Taylor. 

At first, the gun misfired giving Taylor a chance to run into the bar. One of the men followed him inside, ultimately shooting and killing Taylor.

In all, four men were tried together for the murder.

Johnson always proclaimed his innocence and tried to challenge his conviction 15 times over the years.

Things changed when attorney Nancy Forster took over his case. Forster approached the CIU asking for an investigation into Johnson's continued claims of innocence.

After a few months of investigating, the CIU, Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and Forster found evidence proving Jerome Johnson's innocence. 

That evidence included statements from his co-defendants stating his innocence, alibi witnesses who were not available ahead of time and new evidence "undercutting" the one eyewitness who linked Johnson to the case.