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
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
"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.