Local News

Innocence center turns attention to next case

Posted February 22, 2010 3:59 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2010 6:53 p.m. EST

— The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, which helped free wrongfully convicted inmate 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.

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.