Local News

Ex-prosecutor stands by murder conviction of exonerated man

Posted August 15, 2013
Updated August 16, 2013

Dewey Hudson

— A retired prosecutor said Thursday that the decision not to retry a man in the 1987 shooting death of a Duplin County bootlegger doesn't change his belief that the man was involved in the crime.

Larry Lamb walked out of the Wake Correctional Center in Raleigh on Tuesday after a judge tossed his conviction and the Duplin County District Attorney's Office dropped the murder charge against him.

Lamb spent more than 20 years in prison for the Feb. 28, 1987, death of Leamon Grady, who was robbed and found dead in his home.

For more than three years after Grady's death, leads in the case turned up empty. Then, a woman named Lovely Lorden came forward, saying she was with the three men who shot Grady, and her testimony won two murder convictions.

"Obviously, she was a very believable, very credible witness at the time," said Dewey Hudson, a former Duplin County district attorney who prosecuted Lamb and co-defendant Levon "Bo" Jones.

“If she wasn’t a credible witness, I wouldn’t have prosecuted the case," he said. "She convinced the detectives, the sheriff’s department. She convinced me. She convinced the SBI. And she convinced two juries because there were two trials in this case.”

Five years ago, Lorden, who had been Jones' girlfriend, said a detective had coached her before Jones' trial on what to say about Jones and Lamb.

Jones was cleared in Grady's death in 2008. A third man pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the case.

Larry Lamb Men freed after witness said she lied in murder trials

Hudson, who is now has a private legal practice, said he doesn't think either man was wrongfully convicted.

"Am I going to sit here and say I'm convinced beyond a reasonable doubt at that this point that they're guilty? No, I'm not," he said. "On the other hand, I'm sure not going to declare them innocent either."

Hudson said he has "no earthly idea" why Lorden recanted her testimony and then refused to speak with prosecutors, but he steadfastly believes she told the truth during Lamb's and Jones' trials.

"I don't think she lied in the first place," he said. "We didn’t just sit there and take her testimony without doing a lot of work to corroborate it.”

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  • davidgnews Aug 16, 2013

    "Sorry to ruin your party but that prosecutor did previously admit..."

    No 'party' ruined here, but this article is not about that case. You were just looking for an excuse to mount a soap box then simply fall off of the deep end.

  • dapack19742 Aug 16, 2013

    Sorry to ruin your party but that prosecutor did previously admit that his office wrongfully prosecuted Leslie Jean for a rape conviction in Onslow county where DNA conclusively proved that Jean was not the rapist and that the victim made a terrible mistake in her misidentification of the rapist. Maybe there should be no prosecutions in NC unless the criminal admits the crime or it is on video tape. Remember the problem with the SBI crime lab! Or we could abolish our courts and allow citizens to admister justice in their neighborhoods.What would you doubters think if your father was shot in his home and the prosecutor refuse to prosecute his murder knowing that,there was a witness who admitted to being there and I'd the murderer.Would you accept the decision that since there was no physical evidence at the crime scene that no one should be prosecuted! I sincerely doubt it. You would be on this page calling the DA a coward . Of course you would remain anonymous in doing so!

  • nufsaid Aug 16, 2013

    "Prosecutors never admit when they've wrongfully convicted someone, even when evidence of the defendant's innocence is overwhelming....Guilt or innocence has nothing to do with it....Raleighlocal"

    I would say that it is extremely rare when a prosecutor will admit they played a role in a wrongful conviction. Even more rare for the media to admit they may have played a significant role?

  • nufsaid Aug 16, 2013

    In fact the WRAL coverage in the Brad Cooper case leading up to the trial had me convinced that he was guilty. In my opinion the coverage during the trial would likely convince anyone that relied on news coverage to believe he was guilty. Watching all the actual court proceedings convinced me there was not enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Even started to think he may be actually innocent. In my opinion evidence that could have benefited the defendant was destroyed by law enforcement. Not to mention that the judge seemed to disallow expert testimony because he didn't seem to understand the technology involved. I now understand how an innocent man can be found guilty.

  • Raleighlocal Aug 16, 2013

    Prosecutors never admit when they've wrongfully convicted someone, even when evidence of the defendant's innocence is overwhelming. But anyone who's seen the judicial system up close knows exactly how it works: the folks who can afford good lawyers get off light or go free, while the poor folks with their public defenders go to jail. Guilt or innocence has nothing to do with it. It's about time we all dropped the "Law and Order" and "CSI" fantasies about criminal justice.

  • LastSon1981 Aug 16, 2013

    Or attack other posters. WRAL is part of the group of liberals that take every opportunity to attack law enforcement, prosecutors and government in general to further their scandal mongering agenda. Its thinking like I am reading on this site that is letting murders go free to appease the anti government liberals.

    disgusted2010

    Well you do know this is the WRAL website right?

  • jcthai Aug 16, 2013

    disgusted2010, you really need to go back to school and get an education or something. Deary me. It's called critical thinking. Try to see pass your irrational hatred of everything that scares you and see the truth. The truth will indeed set you free. This guy is not a murderer. The state, which oh by the way, consists of individuals that you elected to conduct the business of the state for you, has deemed that this man is not guilty since the prosecution could not prove its case given the recanting witness. It's called justice. Doing right. If you have evidence proving this is guy is guilty, then you should speak up. If you don't, then you should let the system do its job and you should shut up. Jeez.....

  • davidgnews Aug 16, 2013

    WRAL is part of the group of liberals that take every opportunity to attack law enforcement, prosecutors and government in general to further their scandal mongering agenda.

    And you couldn't be any more off-base with that vitriolic remark. If they did otherwise, they wouldn't have nearly the access to information, etc that they usually receive.

    Get a grip!

  • nufsaid Aug 16, 2013

    " WRAL is part of the group of liberals that take every opportunity to attack law enforcement, prosecutors and government in general to further their scandal mongering agenda....disgusted2010"

    In the Brad Cooper case it seemed to me WRAL coverage certainly tilted toward the prosecution.

  • nufsaid Aug 16, 2013

    Actually watching all the actual proceedings of the Cooper trial I have lost my confidence our justice system. I am no bleeding heart liberal, but I am not at all swayed by the words of the ex prosecutor in the Lamb case.

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