On Tuesday night, an innocent man finally walked free after serving 4 years in jail for a crime he did not commit.
Governor Bob McDonnell issued a conditional pardon for Johnathan Montgomery, who was imprisoned at Greensville Correctional Center.
Montgomery walked out of a Virginia jail and into the arms of his mother who said she spent much of the last few days in tears waiting for his release.
"It is great! It is awesome! This is the best experience I've had in four years, and I'm going to cherish every moment of it," says Jonathan Montgomery after being released.
The governor received the official conditional pardon request from Montgomery’s lawyers at 10 p.m. Monday night.
Here is the statement issued by Gov. McDonnell:
“It is a travesty of justice when an innocent person is confined in a jail or prison, and it should never occur in our society. Our office became aware of Mr. Montgomery’s situation last week. Since that time members of my staff, along with the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Actual Innocence Project, the Hampton Police Department, the Hampton Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General, the Virginia Department of Corrections and the Virginia State Police have worked diligently to gather all necessary information in this case and review the matter thoroughly. I asked Mr. Montgomery’s attorneys to file a petition for a pardon with our office, as that action would allow me to exercise my gubernatorial authority and take immediate action. We received that petition at 10 pm last night, and began reviewing it immediately."
Will Jonathan Montgomery be home for Thanksgiving?
Jonathan Montgomery remains in jail
John Montgomery’s family thanks Innocence Project for taking on his case
Innocence Project takes on Montgomery case
Attorney general’s office’s statement on Jonathan Montgomery
Innocence Watch: Gov. McDonnell answers questions about wrongly convicted man
Wrongly convicted man remains in jail after Hampton judge orders release
Innocent man stuck in prison days after judge orders release
UPDATE: Woman who accused wrongfully convicted man of sexual assault arrested