Saturday, December 21, 2013

Johnathan Montgomery: Va. Appeals Court Exonerates Man in Sexual Assault

Wonderful news, just wonderful! 

Va. appeals court exonerates man in sexual assault
By Associated Press
December 20, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Court of Appeals on Friday exonerated a man who spent four years in prison for a sexual assault he didn’t commit. 

A three-judge panel of the court unanimously granted Johnathan Montgomery’s petition for a writ of actual innocence Friday, saying there was no evidence to support his conviction after his accuser admitted lying. Montgomery was convicted in 2009 of forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and animate object sexual penetration — based solely on Elizabeth Paige Coast’s testimony.

Coast eventually confessed to lying and was sentenced in August to two months in jail for perjury, paving the way for Montgomery’s exoneration. 

“Absent Coast’s original testimony, the record contains no evidence of Montgomery’s guilt,” the appeals court said. “There are no witnesses who testified that the incident ever occurred. There is no physical evidence that a crime ever happened. The record is entirely devoid of any evidence that incriminates Montgomery.” 

Montgomery’s attorney, Jon M. Talotta, said he was thrilled Montgomery was cleared. 

“Securing the petition of actual innocence will allow him to celebrate the holidays with his family as a free man,” Talotta said. 

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