GREENSBORO, N.C. — Former Greensboro resident LaMonte Armstrong, who was wrongfully convicted and long imprisoned, died recently, according to a statement from the Duke University legal program that won him his freedom.
The tweeted message Friday from Duke law school’s innocence project did not say what had caused the 69-year-old Armstrong’s passing, noting only that it was “with sadness that we say goodbye.”
It is with sadness that we say goodbye to LaMonte Armstrong. LA now rests among the angels. He had a big heart and smile that filled a room. In December, he spent 2 days paying off other people's layaway. He always paid it forward! His absence leaves a hole in our hearts. RIP LA. pic.twitter.com/qhZrLZVcjT
— DukeInnocence (@DukeInnocence) August 16, 2019
Armstrong, who went on to live in rural Alamance County, won his freedom in 2012 after 17 years in prison. He was freed when new evidence emerged that he was not involved in the 1988 killing of N.C. A&T professor Ernestine Compton in her Pichard Street home.
Then-Gov. Pat McCrory issued Armstrong a “pardon of innocence” in 2013, subsequently leading to a payment of $750,000 from state government for his improper incarceration.
The soft-spoken, college-educated Armstrong later won $6.42 million from the City of Greensboro and its insurers to end a civil suit that he brought in federal court.
Armstrong initially had been found guilty in 1995, seven years after the Compton murder, partly because of flawed police work. The State Bureau of Investigation also played a role by failing to accurately identify a palm print left at the crime scene by another man thought to have been Compton’s actual assailant.