Man sues for $30M after serving 13 years for murder he didn't commit
DENVER - A man who was just 14 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn’t commit is suing the City/County of Denver and local police for $30 million.
Denver teacher Emily Johnson was brutally murdered and her car was stolen on New’s Years Day in the year 2000. Lawrence Lorenzo Montoya, who was 14 years old at the time, was brought in for questioning and grilled without a parent present. His attorney said detectives used forceful tactics including cornering him against the wall, banging on the table and making up evidence in order to try to extract a confession.
FOX31 Denver is in possession of police interrogation tape that contains audio of detectives actively lying to Montoya about evidence and statements from other teens.
The lawsuit says Montoya denied having committed the murder at least 65 times over the course of the questioning, but he eventually broke down and told officers what they wanted to hear, according to his attorney.
Montoya’s attorney asserts that detectives coached the boy through a false confession. Now, the lawsuit says police ignored or lied about evidence that would have cleared Montoya of any wrongdoing.
Montoya was charged as an adult, convicted and sentenced to life behind bars. He would eventually be exonerated via new DNA testing after spending 13 years, 7 months and 13 days in prison. His convicted was vacated in 2014.
The man’s attorney says the District Attorneys need to admit their mistake, but he also says fabricating evidence furthers the injustice committed against Montoya.
The city has yet to file a response to the lawsuit. Montoya’s attorney also notes the man is having difficulty reintegrating into society after more than a decade in prison.