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LaMonte Armstrong, Wrongfully Convicted Of Killing NC A&T Professor, Pardoned

2:06 PM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It has been a long journey to freedom, but a North Carolina man is free from a wrongful conviction that changed his life in 1988.

On Monday, Governor Pat McCrory pardoned LaMonte Armstrong.

A jury convicted Armstrong in 1995 for the 1988 murder of Ernestine Compton at her Greensboro house. Compton was a professor at NC A&T.

In June 2012, Armstrong was freed from prison with the help of Duke University School of Law. LaMonte served 17 years of a life sentence even though no physical evidence ever linked him to the crime.

Also, the Guilford County Assistant District Attorney Howard Neumann dismissed the murder charge after concluding DNA testing of crime scene evidence.

The case was reopened after, the Duke Law Clinic team worked with the Greensboro Police Department and Theresa Newman to initiate the DNA testing.

"The DNA tests excluded LaMonte and confirmed the state's decision to vacate the conviction in June," Theresa Newman said following the outcome of the decision. 

Newman, the assistant district attorney, along with Armstrong's lawyers wanted his release pending a new trial.

Guilford County Judge Joseph Turner approved Armstrong's release in June, but only after defense attorneys David Pishko and Newman presented evidence of his wrongful conviction.

After that hearing in June 2012 Armstrong told WFMY News 2 he felt "equal parts relief and elation," after finding out the murder charges against him were dropped.

"It's been real up and down, and I am a little bit overwhelmed," he said. "They gave me life, then they let me go. And as happy as I am to be free, I've been walking around for nine months with that charge hanging over my head, and I was starting to wonder if it would always be hanging over me," Armstrong said. 

Nine months later, in March 2013, the Murder charges against Armstrong, were officially dropped by Guilford County prosecutors.

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