The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project in Washington D.C. is taking on the case of Jonathan Montgomery.
“I’m working the Attorney General’s office and the Governor’s office to plow through all the documents and make sure the right outcome occurs here,” explained Executive Director Shawn Armbrust.
Montgomery has been in prison for the past 4 years for sex crimes he did not commit.
In 2007, his accuser Elizabeth Coast told investigators that Jonathan Montgomery had sexually assaulted her 7 years earlier when she was 10 years old and he was 14.
Montgomery was sentenced in 2008 to serve 7.5 years in prison for the crimes based chiefly on Coast’s testimony.
However, in October, Coast admitted to investigators that she had made up the story as a way to explain being caught by her parents looking at sexually explicit websites.
“There seems to be a lot of evidence that this is a credible recantation, it was the only evidence presented against Mr. Montgomery and now that that has been taken away we think it is proof that he didn’t commit the crime,” said Armbrust.
Last Friday, Hampton Circuit Court Judge Randolph West vacated the charges against Jonathan Montgomery and ordered him to be released.
That release has been blocked by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office who claims that the Hampton Circuit Court did not have jurisdiction to free Montgomery and that a writ of actual innocence must be filed in order to release him.
“We are working on that and we are also in conversations with the Governor’s office and we are working on a way of getting him out of prison in the short term while that is pending,” explained Armbrust.
Right now Jonathan Montgomery remains locked up at the Greensville Correctional Facility in Jarratt.
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