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Innocence center turns attention to next case

Posted February 22, 2010

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— The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, which helped free wrongfully convicted inmate Greg Taylor last week, has moved on to its next project – the release of convicted murderer Larry Lamb.

Lamb was one of three people convicted in the fatal shooting of Leamon Grady, who was robbed and found dead in his Raleigh home in 1987. He is serving a life sentence.

“There’s people out there who have indicated that the wrong person is in prison for this murder. People who would have knowledge of it,” said Christine Mumma, executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence.

Court Gavel Scales of Justice Innocence center looks to next case

Levon "Bo" Jones was accused of shooting Grady. After 13 years on death row, he was released in May 2008 when prosecutors decided to drop the charges against him after a key witness admitted she lied on the stand.

Lovely Lorden, Jones' former girlfriend, was the only witness accusing Jones of the murder, but she admitted in an affidavit that she “was certain that Bo did not have anything to do with Mr. Grady’s murder” and that she did not know what happened the night Grady was murdered.

Lorden said a detective had coached her before Jones' trial what to say about Jones and co-defendant Larry Lamb. She also said she collected $4,000 from the governor's office for giving key information in the case.

"Much of what I testified to was simply not true," Lorden said in the affidavit.

The affidavit also cast doubt on the conviction of Lamb and co-defendant, Ernest Matthews, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was released in 2001.

Lamb’s son, Anthony Lamb, who lives in Massachusetts, thought his father should have been released with Jones.

“I was like, ‘They let this guy out. How come they aren’t going to let my father out?’” he said.

Lamb said he is overjoyed the Center on Actual Innocence is now pursing his father’s case.

“This is the greatest news of the year,” he said.

The Center on Actual Innocence is preparing to file a motion to have Lamb released based on the false statements made by Lorden.

Duplin County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said he is not sure if he will contest the motion. He wants to make sure the witness wasn't coerced into changing her story.

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  • Hans Feb 23, 2010

    "Somewhere in Duplin County, a DA and an investigator are squirming in their seats wondering if they are gonna be the next public officials to be "exposed" as incompetent."

    Incompetent? More like downright criminal. How many lives have been ruined across this nation by dirty cops and prosecuters? I don't see why anyone in their right mind would ever trust a cop or our injustice system after these past few weeks.

  • AnotherIgnoredComment Feb 23, 2010

    In time, the innocence committee will eventually have a hard time finding a case to take.
    DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT

    Lets hope so

  • Lightfoot3 Feb 23, 2010

    “Duplin County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said he is not sure if he will contest the motion. He wants to make sure the witness wasn't coerced into changing her story”


    Shouldn’t he be concerned if she was coerced on her ORIGINAL story?!!!!!!


    If the DA and cops involved with the original trial REALLY coached and paid this woman to get her testimony and the conviction, I think they should be convicted of attempted murder.


    “In time, the innocence committee will eventually have a hard time finding a case to take.” - DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT


    That sounds like a good thing.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Feb 23, 2010

    You all are too quick to write off these cases as prosecuted by crooked DA's and bad cops. Remember, when these people were convicted, crime scene technology was archaic. Most were convicted on more circumstantial evidence than today. Its not always bad cops or DA's. They got the conviction the best way they could back then. Even though they couldn't prove guilt with hard evidence, most are guilty of their crimes.

    This commission doesn't bother me though. It takes them one to three years to get someone exonerated. We prosecute a hundred murder cases in that time frame. For every one they release, they probably put 100 away with more solid evidence. In time, the innocence committee will eventually have a hard time finding a case to take.

  • Bartmeister Feb 23, 2010

    Jeff = I disagree. Only new evidence not heard in the original trial can be put forth. It's a major step in the check and balance for the system. Prior to this commission, prosecutors, investigators, and DA's had no fear of a review into their practices, now that has changed. Nothing wrong with a little oversight of what used to be a monopoly of procedure. If your father was convicted and you KNEW there was evidence to prove his innocence, you'd be the first applicant in line for this commission.

    Somewhere in Duplin County, a DA and an investigator are squirming in their seats wondering if they are gonna be the next public officials to be "exposed" as incompetent.

  • gandalla Feb 23, 2010

    Amazing, here we go again. A wrongfully convicted man sent up te river because of a crooked cop and a lying eye witness with a lot to gain for providing a false account of what she saw.

  • ladyblue Feb 23, 2010

    The Center on Actual Innocence is preparing to file a motion to have Lamb released based on the false statements made by Lorden.

    All I have to say here is that the innocence of this case will not be fully handled until they lock up the woman who made the false testimony and make her repay the $4,000 and also the ones who offered her the bribe to lie. They need to start locking these people up for flat our perjury, such as crystal mangum, and put an end to this nonsense of using the courts for one's own monetary gain. I am all for finding the innocent in jail but to go around and find such cases as these needs more done than letting the criminal in bars go free. they need to start locking up the ones creating this havoc in the first place with shenanigans and false testimony in first trial...

  • Jeff_W Feb 22, 2010

    What is the point of having trial by jury if a 3-judge panel is going to have the final say anyway? Let's just skip the formality and stop wasting jurors time and the people's money on a trial. Go straight to trial by the Innocence Panel.

  • Iwasasoldier4u Feb 22, 2010

    How much effort did Dewey put forth to find out if the woman was coerced before he convicted this man? He shouldn't do much more than he did then.