PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Gov. Ralph Northam has granted a full pardon to a man sentenced to life in prison in the 2002 killing of a pregnant woman and the shooting of her boyfriend, after an investigation proved his innocence. Northam granted an absolute pardon Tuesday to Lamar Edward Barnes in the slaying of Amy McRae and the shooting of Mark King in Portsmouth, De'Andre Barnes, Portsmouth's Vice Mayor and cousin of Lamar Edward Barnes, confirms to News 3.
"He served twenty years for a crime he didn’t commit. He should not have lost his life like that," De’Andre Barnes, Portsmouth's Vice Mayor said.
Portsmouth’s Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes cousin, Lamar Barnes is free and out of prison.
"We’ve known he’s been innocent for a very long time, since the beginning. All the evidence proves his innocent. The governor saw fit the evidence and look through it and granted him that pardon so he can get out," Vice Mayor Barnes said.
Family members confirm to News 3, an investigation found that Lamar Barnes had a "corroborated alibi" at the time of the killing, but that evidence was not introduced by Barnes' lawyer during his trial.
"I feel good, real good," Lamar Barnes said in a Facebook video posted by Vice Mayor Barnes.
Vice Mayor Barnes tells us that Lamar has four kids that he’s eager to spend time with.
"He has kids who never got a chance to hug him and now they are able to hug him because he’s home now," Barnes said.
Vice Mayor Barnes tells News 3 the entire family is grateful for what led up to Lamar's pardon.
"I thank the Innocence Project for them to take on this case and look into it, the hard work that they’ve done. They believed he was innocent and if it weren’t for them, this wouldn’t be happening," Barnes said.
Meanwhile -- Lamar Barnes is getting acclimated to life outside of prison.
"It’s going to be a long journey for him. But just understand for him in this particular matter, he was the victim," Barnes said.
Vice Mayor Barnes also tells News 3 that the family is asking for people to just pray for Lamar and wish him well.