Missouri

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The state’s theory stretched the physical limits of the human body. Somehow, on the night of Oct. 30, 1994, Lamar Johnson left his friend’s apartment, traveled three miles to Marcus Boyd’s front porch with one other man, killed Boyd, fled on foot and arrived back at the apartment to continue socializing with friends – all in “no more than five minutes.”

Now the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office says it knows how prosecutors managed to convince a jury it was true: Police and prosecutors made up the evidence, according to a 67-page motion seeking to vacate Johnson’s first-degree murder conviction and grant him a new trial after 24 years behind bars.

The accompanying investigative report, made public this week, describes a staggering amount of misconduct on the part of homicide detectives and prosecutors that convicted Johnson and sent him to prison for life with no possibility of parole.

Not only did detectives write police reports containing invented statements from witnesses, the report found, but the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office also made secret payments to the single eyewitness, who was pressured into making the false identification that would ultimately seal Johnson’s fate, according to the report.

And authorities did all of this, investigators found, in the face of “overwhelming” evidence that Johnson was an innocent man. He has insisted on his innocence the entire time he has been behind bars.

“The violation of Johnson’s constitutional rights enabled the State of Missouri to obtain a conviction and sentence of life without the possibility of parole against Johnson despite overwhelming evidence of innocence,” the circuit attorney’s office wrote. “The undisclosed secret payments to the sole eyewitness in a case that was undeniably thin fatally undermines the reliability of the verdict.”

992

#momsneeddrinks.

That’s the hashtag a Missouri woman used for pictures she posted to Instagram of her daughter and several glasses of wine during a gathering in June 2018, prosecutors say.

About 45 minutes later, Samantha Jones, 32, of Smithville left the party with her 5-year-old daughter Macklyn Lucas strapped into a car seat on the rear passenger side of the vehicle, according to a news release from the Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Jones lost control of the car shortly after leaving, crashing the side of the vehicle where Macklyn sat into a telephone pole, which snapped into two pieces, prosecutors said.

When police arrived at the scene, Jones was apparently distraught, saying, “My baby is my world. I don’t care if I go to jail, I just want my baby to be OK,” KCTV reported shortly after the crash.

Macklyn died from head trauma three days later at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and Jones was charged with driving while intoxicated, prosecutors said.

Macklyn was called the “princess of Smithville” by Casi Joy, a country singer from Smithville who was a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice,” and family members remembered her as “caring, compassionate, funny and so wise beyond her years,” The Kansas City Star reported.

Prosecutors said Jones admitted to drinking as much as two bottles of wine in about three and a half hours during the gathering in Camden Point, according to the release. Her blood-alcohol level was .186 about two hours after the crash, which is over twice the legal limit, prosecutors said.

In May, Jones pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, according to the release.

During a sentencing hearing last week, dozens of people attended to show support for Jones, according to the release. Jones’ attorneys read letters that argued she shouldn’t go to prison because she would punish herself for killing her daughter “more than prison ever could,” according to the release.

Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said he didn’t doubt Jones is “anguished” by her daughter’s death but argued she still deserved prison.

A judge sentenced Jones to nine years in prison, according to the release.
“The defendant said moms need drinks,” Zahnd said in a statement. “I will say this: Moms need to put their kids first. Moms need to protect their children. Moms need to obey the law. Moms must not get behind the wheel of a car after they’ve had drinks.”

A

557

A Missouri man convicted of molesting an 11-year-old girl will serve no jail time.

TV station KFOR reports Joseph Meili was instead sentenced to five years of probation after he pleaded guilty to third-degree molestation. If he successfully completes probation, there’s a chance the charge could be removed from his criminal record.

Meili reportedly met the girl through the MeetMe app. He told investigators he believed she was 18 and that he had been “catfished.”

But Greene County senior assistant prosecuting attorney Elizabeth Fax told the Huffington Post she didn’t believe that.

To actually see her in person … he knew and just decided to go along with it,” she said.

After the alleged assault, the girl tested positive for chlamydia, according to KFOR.

4401

A three-year-old’s head was split open after her teacher at Brighter Day Care and Preschool in north St. Louis County, Missouri threw her into a cabinet seemingly without reason on Friday, February 1. She suffered an enormous gash in her forehead right between her eyes and was sent to the hospital in an ambulance where she required seven stitches.

The teacher reportedly sent a note to the parents saying ‘she fall’ without giving further explanation. Despite her claims that the child fell, the entire incident was caught on a surveillance camera in the classroom. However, the preschool director waited five days before checking the surveillance video.

Now the child’s family has hired lawyer Jennifer Hansen to represent them to fight against the violence their daughter suffered. ‘The daycare could’ve reviewed that footage at any time. They didn’t and they allowed the daycare worker who assaulted this little girl, to continue to work at the facility for five additional days,’ attorney Jennifer Hansen said.