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Man pardoned after spending 16 years in prison speaks out

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Gov. Pat McCrory has granted LaMonte Armstrong a pardon of innocence after he spent nearly 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Just in time for Christmas, the pardon came 25 years after Armstrong told Greensboro police detectives he wasn’t even in town the night North Carolina A&T professor Ernestine Compton was killed.

It wasn’t until 2006 that lawyers with Duke University’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic believed Armstrong, and took on the case.

It turns out the state’s key witness against Armstrong later recanted, saying he testified to collect a reward and avoid a prison sentence. The team of Duke law students and alumni also helped uncover new evidence linking another man to the murder.

“I know one thing -- it's been a big waste. They took some good years of my life. But I'm just going to try my best to make the best of what I got left,” said Armstrong.

Even though Armstrong was released from prison in 2012 and charges were dropped in March, he says Gov. McCrory has finally cleared his name.

“What it meant for the Governor to call me and pardon me was finally for all those people who didn't believe, maybe now they will believe. Because the number one citizen in North Carolina just said, ‘You're innocent.’ He also said he was sorry,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong now works at a substance abuse treatment center in Chapel Hill. He says being pardoned will finally allow him to become a certified substance abuse counselor.

The pardon also means Armstrong is eligible to receive up to $750,000 as compensation for the wrongful conviction.

15 comments

    • Michelle

      He “spoke out” 25 years ago when he told detectives he was innocent, but of course no one listened because he was already guilty in everyone’s eyes.

  • Dent N Door

    And Roy Cooper, who wants to be the next governor of NC as Attorney General has done what for this poor man, NOTHING! Roy Cooper needs to get his SBI lab scandle flushed away first. Folks it’s clear who you can trust, McCrory!

      • jd

        Ill take you for your word. After doing a google search I can say that my quality of life with Harvey Gant as Mayor consisted of several bottles of formula, some diaper changes and a lot of napping.

  • mike jones

    I feel really sorry for this man. He has in fact lost years off his life. Not to mention the connections that he probably lost with friends and family. I hope that his dream of being an substance abuse counselor become reality. People can say what they want but in the end, there is no amount of money that can “buy back” all of the lost time. His dream of being a substance abuse counselor speaks of his character. That is a job that isn’t high paying or respected by many but it’s a calling that has potential to help many who suffer from the disease of addiction.

  • Dr. Sonya Gram

    What about the woman who was raped and murdered? North Carolina loves disrespecting educated black women in favor of low class criminal minded black men. If the white folks in Greensboro were so smart get Mr. Lamont off then why can’t they find the real criminal who did it? Black women are not safe in Carolina unless they work in brothels or as prostitutes. North Carolina hates hard working educated black women. It’s time that black women’s groups are formed and protection for the life and rights of black women and innocent black children are demanded.

  • Larry Robertson

    I am a probation officer and have noticed nothing but a spike in crime since this was all announced. Criminals need to realize that this guy was found innocent . I hope this is not North Carolina’s message to criminals its okay for you guilty guys to come back out and start havoc again because it is not. Those in the law enforcement community need to step up and demand that law and order be maintained in North Carolina. I am tired of being called a racist white man every time I do my job. I am married to a Hispanic woman who looks African American. Both of my children are brown skinned with curly hair. I am protecting them as much as anyone. Black women and women of color of the largest victims of the crime like the one Lamont was cleared of. Those of you who read this comment board need to notice if you see a spike in crime in your area and demand that law and order be maintained. The governor ‘s timing was bad .

  • cc

    Whatever Sonya… BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH….You sound like that DUMBASS Jesse Jackson >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SHITTING out of your mouth..But that’s what YA’LL do. Not your faught…..ENOUGH SAID…..WANTWANTWANT When is it enough…….

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