Judge to rule Tuesday on Missouri’s man’s murder conviction

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A judge will announce next week whether he will overturn the conviction of a Missouri man who was imprisoned for a 1994 murder that he has always said he didn’t commit.

St. Louis Circuit Judge David Mason has set a hearing for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to announce his decision in the case of Lamar Johnson, who was been serving a life sentence after being convicted in 1995 of killing Marcus Boyd.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is seeking to vacate Johnson’s murder conviction, while the Missouri Attorney General’s Office wants to keep Johnson behind bars.

Mason heard testimony in December from both sides under a law that allows prosecutors to get seek hearings in cases where there is fresh evidence of a wrongful conviction.

Boyd was shot to death on the front porch of his St. Louis home by two men wearing ski masks on Oct. 30, 1994.

Johnson was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison but a second suspect, Phil Campbell, who has since died, was given a seven-year prison term after pleading guilty to a reduced charge.

Johnson, now 49, testified during December’s hearing that he was with his girlfriend the night of Boyd’s death, except for a few minutes when he was selling drugs. The drug sale occurred about the same time Boyd was killed and blocks away from the scene, he said.

James Howard, who is serving a life sentence for murder and several other crimes committed three years after Boyd was killed, testified that he and Campbell killed Boyd during a scuffle. He said Johnson was not there.

Campbell, years before his death, signed an affidavit saying Johnson was not involved in the killing.

Prosecutors from Missouri Attorney General’s Office argued that none of the new evidence presented at the hearing was credible.

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