A man who served 51 years in prison turned out to be innocent

Arthur Johnson was sentenced to life in 1970 on murder charges and served his “sentence” until recently. However, lawyers reviewed the prisoner’s case and concluded that the evidence against him was “highly dubious,” hence the charges were false.

Johnson had been convicted as a teenager, and at the time of his recent release from prison he was in his 70s and had two sons. The abolitionist Law Center, a nonprofit organization whose executive director, Robert Holbrooke, had faced a similar situation in his past: As a juvenile, he also received a life sentence, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer story published Wednesday, August 11.

As evidence of Johnson’s guilt, testimony from a 30-hour interrogation of a teenage witness was cited that, several years later, the court found “highly suspicious.”

According to a cellmate of the falsely convicted man, Johnson never pleaded guilty to what he was accused of. He claimed the stabbing confession was fabricated and he was physically tortured for 21 hours by law enforcement officers to get his signature.

Last February, the U.S. state of Florida resident received no compensation after he spent 43 years in prison and was acquitted.

Clifford Williams and his nephew, Nathan Meyers, were accused of killing a Jacksonville resident and attempting to kill her roommate in 1976. The men spent 43 years in prison, but were found not guilty and released in 2019.