Man wrongly convicted of murder walks free from Wake prison
Posted August 13, 2013
Updated August 14, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A man imprisoned for more than 20 years for the murder of a Duplin County bootlegger was released Tuesday evening from the Wake Correctional Center in Raleigh.
A judge on Thursday ordered that Larry Lamb be exonerated in the fatal shooting of Leamon Grady, who was robbed and found dead in his home in 1987. On Tuesday, the Duplin County District Attorney's Office dropped the charges against Lamb, clearing the way for his release.
Smiling, Lamb walked calmly into the arms of waiting family members shortly after 5:30 p.m.
"For the last 20-plus years, I’ve been an innocent man. It’s been a struggle," Lamb said. "It's a hard life in the penitentiary, especially knowing that you are innocent."
Grandchildren were born and loved ones passed away while Lamb was locked up, he said.
"Not being able to attend their funerals or be with my family to console them, it's been a struggle," he said.
But he tried to stay positive through the ordeal.
"I was raised in a good community and the people taught me to be positive," he said. "My mother always told me whatever I do, do my very best. Wherever I go, represent home, represent the family, and that's what I've strived to do over these years."
On his first night as a free man, Lamb said he was looking forward to a good meal and new memories with family.
"I'm going to go and try to eat me some fish, some real food," he said. "Now, all I just want to do is go and be with my family and my children and get to know my grandchildren and love them."
Lamb was the only one of three men convicted in Grady's murder still in prison. He was serving a life sentence.
Levon "Bo" Jones spent 13 years on death row 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.
The Center on Actual Innocence took up Lamb's case in 2010, filing a motion to have him released based on the witness's false statements, as well as ineffective defense counsel.
Lamb said the path to his exoneration was slow and painful, but he advised other wrongfully convicted inmates to keep the faith.
"At one time, I wanted to fire Chris (Mumma)," Lamb said with a laugh. "This is a slow battle. It takes time. A lot of times we think it should happen just like that, but it doesn't ... so I would like to encourage them to stay focused, continue to take part in positive things – attend worship service, go to school."