Clinton, N.C. — A man who's been imprisoned for more than 20 years for murder was waiting Friday to find out whether a judge will throw out his conviction and free him.
Larry Lamb is the only one of three men convicted in the 1987 shooting death of Leamon Grady still in prison. A Duplin County bootlegger, Grady was robbed and killed in his home.
"It hurts to see my father basically lose his whole life," said Anthony Lamb, who was a teenager when his father received a life sentence in 1993. "He missed out on his grandchildren, watching me grow up to become a man."
The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, which is representing Larry Lamb in the case, focused a hearing this week before Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Parsons on discrepancies in testimony from Lamb's original trial and on ineffective defense counsel – several witnesses weren't even called to testify.
Levon "Bo" Jones spent 13 years on death row for Grady's murder before he was released in May 2008. Duplin County prosecutors decided to drop the charges against him after a key witness admitted she lied on the stand.
Lovely Lorden, Jones' former girlfriend, said a detective had coached her before Jones' trial on what to say about Jones and Lamb.
"It's like they wanted to solve this case, and they wanted to find somebody to blame it on," Anthony Lamb said.
Greg Taylor, whom the Center on Actual Innocence helped free three years ago after 17 years in prison for a Raleigh murder he didn't commit, was in Sampson County Friday to show his support for Lamb.
"There's that element of hope there, but at the same time, you've been let down in the court so many times over the years that it's scary almost to hope," Taylor said.
Parsons is reviewing evidence in the case, and there is no timeline for when he might rule.
"It's been a long time, and we're praying and hoping that everything comes out great," Anthony Lamb said.