ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man who spent six years in jail on a murder conviction was freed after prosecutors dismissed the case against him, less than a month after a judge had thrown out his conviction.
Lamont Cambell, 28, walked out of the St. Louis City Justice Center on Thursday, shortly after prosecutors dismissed murder and armed criminal action charges in the July 17, 2011, shooting death of 29-year-old Lenny J. Gregory III, who was the son of a retired police officer.
Cambell was 17 when Gregory was killed while sitting in his car in south St. Louis. After jurors in his first trial could not reach a unanimous verdict, he was convicted in 2016 in a second trial and sentenced to life in prison with the eligibility for parole in 30 years.
Cambell had always maintained his innocence and appealed his conviction in 2019.
In December, St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Boyer overturned Cambell’s conviction, ruling that he had ineffective counsel and that prosecutors did not disclose the lead investigator in the case was having an affair with one of the witnesses who identified Cambell as the shooter.
A hearing was set for Thursday to schedule a new trial date but the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office instead dismissed the charges and said the investigation into Gregory’s killing would begin again, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“I’m just happy to be out,” Cambell said as he walked out of jail.
Police have never found the weapon used to kill Gregory, or any physical evidence to link Cambell to the case.
Gregory’s relatives expressed frustration with the developments, saying they had little contact with the prosecutor’s office and were “blindsided” by Thursday’s proceedings.
“We didn’t have a chance to talk to the prosecutor to tell him how we felt,” said Gregory’s aunt, Christine Tierney. “We want justice for Lenny, and we do want the correct person in prison. We just feel it would be an injustice to the family to let (Cambell) out.”