Wrongfully convicted: January 12, 2000
Exonerated: November 28, 2018
Justly Johnson was convicted, along with Kendrick Scott, of murdering Lisa Kindred while she waited in her minivan with her three children on a deserted Detroit Street in the early morning hours of Mother’s Day 1999.
Both men maintained their innocence, but were convicted based on testimony from two other neighborhood men, who claimed that Johnson and Scott had planned to rob the woman and shot her as part of the robbery. The inculpatory witnesses recanted soon after trial, but the convictions stood.
Private Investigator Scott Lewis began looking into the case years later at Johnson’s behest, and learned that police had never taken the eyewitness account of the oldest child in the victim’s car, her 8-year-old son. Lewis spoke with the victim’s son 12 years after the shooting, and the eyewitness made clear that he had seen the shooter and was sure that it was not Johnson or Scott.
The Michigan Supreme Court vacated the convictions in July 2018, and Johnson and Scott were exonerated in November 2018.
More details available at:
- The National Registry of Exonerations: Justly Johnson
- The Detroit News: "2 Detroit men to get new trials in '99 Mother's Day slaying"
- The Detroit News: "Pair cleared in '99 Mother's Day murder celebrate release"
- The Daily Mail: "'I've dreamed of this moment for 20 years': Emotional moment two Detroit men exonerated from a 1999 murder are greeted with hugs and tears after serving nearly two decades in prison"