Johnathan Montgomery’s innocence case to be heard in Richmond today
Richmond, Va. (WTKR) – One year after he walked out of prison, oral arguments for Johnathan Montgomery’s actual innocence case will be heard before the Court of Appeals of Virginia in Richmond on Tuesday.
Montgomery was released from prison on a conditional pardon from Governor Bob McDonnell on November 20, 2012.
The conditional status of the pardon meant Montgomery still had to register as a sex offender and go through the process of obtaining a Writ of Actual Innocence in order to fully clear his name.
He had served four years in prison for a sex crime he didn’t commit.
His accuser, Elizabeth Coast, told police that Montgomery sexually assaulted her when she was 10 and he was 14. However, she didn’t come forward with the allegations until 7 years later.
Montgomery was convicted on Coast’s testimony alone and was serving his prison sentence. She recanted in October 2012, admitting the entire story was a lie.
After a Hampton Circuit Court judge ordered the charges be vacated and Montgomery be freed, the Attorney General’s office blocked the release, saying it violated Virginia’s 21-day rule.
That rule prohibits a court from overturning a ruling after three weeks.
NewsChannel 3 was there on the day Montgomery’s family expected him to be released and fought for his release after it was blocked.
NewsChannel 3′s Todd Corillo was the only reporter to travel to Richmond on November 19, 2012 to ask Governor Bob McDonnell why he hadn’t stepped in and pardoned Montgomery.
The very next day, McDonnell issued a conditional pardon, setting Johnathan Montgomery free from prison just days before Thanksgiving.
Oral arguments for Montgomery’s innocence case will be heard before a panel of judges at the Court of Appeals of Virginia Tuesday morning.
Count on NewsChannel 3 to stay on top of this developing story.