RALEIGH – A Chapel Hill man has been granted a pardon of innocence by Governor Pat McCrory after 16 and a half years behind bars.
Gov. McCrory called 63-year-old LaMonte Burton Armstrong Monday to tell him the news. The pardon of innocence makes Armstrong eligible for up to $750,000 to compensate for the wrongful conviction.
According to a news release sent out by the governor’s office, Armstong was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1995 for the murder of a North Carolina A&T professor in 1988 when Ernestine Compton was found dead in her Greensboro home.
Although no evidence ever linked Armstrong to the crime scene, an acquaintance, Charles Blackwell, turned him in. In 2010, Blackwell told investigators that he only did that to collect the reward from Crime Stoppers.
In 2011, the Duke Wrongful Conviction Clinic reviewed Armstrong’s case and requested a Motion for Appropriate Relief (MAR).
Less than a year later, State investigators re-ran all known prints from the case. One of these prints was an unidentified partial palm print found on a door frame above the victim’s body. Using a new database, the palm print was matched to another suspect in the case. He was released on June 29, 2012.
Armstrong works for The Freedom House in Chapel Hill where he serves as an outpatient substance abuse counselor. He’s attending Wake Technical Community College to become certified as a substance abuse counselor.
During the call with Gov. McCrory, Armstrong asked that he got a chance to shoot the basketball a bit with the governor, to which he accepted.