DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – A new trial date has been set for a Detroit man who spent 21 years behind bars for a murder, he says, he did not commit.

Lamarr Monson’s new trial is scheduled to begin July 10. New evidence prompted the new trial and his release from prison — 28 days ago.

“I’m just grateful for coming through it, as opposed to being in it,” Monson tells WWJ’s Stephanie Davis.”Word of God says, better is the end of a thing than the beginning.”

Talking at his west side home in Detroit – Monson, who is on bond pending the outcome of the his next trial, spoke of freedoms that most of us take for granted.

“Whether it’s getting something out of the refrigerator, whether it’s getting up and putting on something you want to wear – just making the decision as a man, and you know, they take that away from you in prison.”

Monson says while in prison he read a lot of books and grew in his faith as a Christian. He says there is no bitterness or anger towards anyone. “I can’t live my life like that — I understand now that no one escapes justice from God – so as his word tells us that vengeance is his, I don’t worry about them or who’s responsible or for what.”

On January 20, 1996 — 11 days before his 24th birthday — then drug dealer Lamarr Monson emerged as a suspect in the murder of 12-year-old runaway Christina Brown, who was found dead with massive head trauma inside their apartment on Detroit’s west side.

She had also been stabbed, beaten and strangled. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press at the time, Monson had allegedly argued with the young girl who was selling crack and marijuana with him shortly before her death.

In 2012, an alleged eyewitness came forward and fingered the man she said was responsible for Brown’s death. Additionally, bloody fingerprint evidence at the crime scene points to someone else, and that evidence, corroborated the witness who came forward — leading to Monson’s conviction being reversed and a new trial granted.

The 45-year-old Monson, who has a daughter and a grandchild, says he’s hopeful he’ll be exonerated and he’s thinking about his future. He says he’s hopeful that the evidence will speak for itself at his new trial and he’ll be cleared of the murder charges.

“Well, I definitely want to go back to school — I want to get a degree in business — I want to be an asset to my family, an asset to my children and live a productive life and do what the Lord would have me to do.”

In the meantime, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is doing further scientific testing of evidence connected to the case. The prosecutor could decide at any time – not to move forward with the new trial against Monson.


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