DETROIT (WWJ) – A new trial has been ordered for a Detroit man who has spent 20-years in prison for the 1996 killing of a 12-year old girl.
A Wayne County judge handed down a decision in the case of 44-year-old Lamarr Monson at a hearing Monday at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.
David Moran, director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, took up the case and discovered a bloody thumb print on the murder weapon, a toilet seat, that was found to belong to someone else.
What also helped, he said: a new witness.
“We produced new evidence showing that another person who lived in the apartment building came forward in 2012 and revealed that her ex-boyfriend committed this murder for which Mr. Monson has been in prison all these years,” Moran said.
He added that threats by the ex are allegedly what kept the witness from coming forward. She came forward after moving out of state and finally feeling free from her ex, Robert Lewis, supporters say.
“Her ex-boyfriend and his brother had threatened her repeatedly, and her family, with death if she ever revealed what she knew,” Moran said.
Monson admits he had been dealing drugs with the preteen Christina Brown, whom he allegedly thought was older. But he has said many times that he did not kill her.
In 1996 Monson’s attorneys say he discovered Brown’s bloody body in the apartment where they’d been dealing drugs. He called 911 and asked for help.
Later, he ended up signing a confession saying he had stabbed her to death.
His attorneys say it happened because he was told by police if he confessed, they would let him go.
Investigators later learned Brown’s death was caused by being bludgeoned with the top of the toilet tank, though she had also been stabbed.
The new witness suspected her boyfriend killed the girl in a drug deal gone bad.
The witness, told FOX 2 this a few months ago:
“When he came back he had blood on him,- he had blood, it was dripping off his fingernails,” Bentley said. “And he said we got to get out of here. He said ‘That (expletive) scratched me.’ He had so much blood that was coming off his fingernails it was dropping on the floor – I’ll never forget that.”
The new trial is expected to begin in April.