SIGN THE PETITION TO FREE LORENZO NOW!
To: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro
Office of the Attorney General, 16th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson is an innocent man. But he has spent most of the past 18 years serving a sentence of life without parole. For several months after the 1995 murder of Tarajay Williams, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania drug dealer, police detectives threatened Johnson with murder charge unless he falsely accused a friend of the murder and drug dealing. When Johnson refused, he was charged with first degree murder as an accessory to murder and began his non-ceasing fight to prove his own innocence.
Despite Johnson’s initial conviction, new evidence began to emerge. Johnson was in New York City when the murder took place. The police and prosecution kept evidence of his innocence secret. They coerced witnesses into lying. There was no ballistics evidence against him. The main prosecution witness was a confirmed cocaine addict. No witness testified linking Lorenzo directly to the murder.
This trial was a travesty of justice.
Lorenzo Johnson won his freedom in an October 2011 federal court of appeals decision stating that his conviction was based on insufficient evidence: a judicial acquittal. A federal judge then released Johnson on bond and he rejoined his family, worked in the construction industry, and spoke out on behalf of other falsely convicted innocent people.
Just four months later, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and reinstated his murder conviction, arguing U.S. Constitutional protections could not be used to overturn a state jury conviction on grounds of insufficient evidence. Johnson voluntarily returned to prison to fight for justice and legal vindication of his innocence.
In August 2013, a new post-conviction state appeal was filed. New evidence is further proof of Lorenzo Johnson’s innocence and that his conviction was a frame-up. The main prosecution witness has now admitted that she lied at trial. Other witnesses admit that they were coerced into lying or staying silent, threatened by detectives with being falsely charged with crimes or promised leniency in their own situations. There is in fact new evidence pointing to the actual murderers. There is no evidence to support Lorenzo Johnson’s conviction.
Eighteen years in prison for an innocent man is eighteen years too many. The Pennsylvania Attorney General should dismiss Lorenzo Johnson’s charges. Lorenzo Johnson should be immediately freed from prison!