McDonnell issues pardon in Hampton sex-crime case
Gov. Bob McDonnell on Tuesday issued a conditional pardon for Johnathan Montgomery, who had been imprisoned at Greensville Correctional Center, serving a seven year sentence for crimes he did not commit.
Montgomery had been sentenced in 2008 in a case in Norfolk in which he had been accused of the sexual abuse of a then-10-year-old girl. His accuser recently recanted her testimony, and substantiated evidence of innocence was received by the governor.
The Governor personally conveyed the news of his pardon to Johnathan Montgomery by phone Tuesday evening. He also spoke directly to Mr. Montgomery’s mother, and called Montgomery’s father.
“It is a travesty of justice when an innocent person is confined in a jail or prison, and it should never occur in our society,” said McDonnell, a former prosecutor and former state attorney general.
McDonnell said upon learning of the situation last week that members of his staff had met with the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Actual Innocence Project, the Hampton Police Department, the Hampton Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General, the Virginia Department of Corrections and the Virginia State Police to gather all necessary information in this case.
“This situation has been a tragedy. An innocent man was in jail for four years. While tonight Mr. Montgomery is free from prison, he will never get those years of his life back. Tonight I called Johnathan to personally offer, on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth, our heartfelt apologies for all that he has been put through due to this miscarriage of justice,” McDonnell said. “I am thankful that the witness in this case finally stepped forward to recent her testimony. Justice, while tragically delayed, has been served. I thank everyone who worked so hard on this case to achieve tonight’s outcome. More than anything else, I wish Mr. Montgomery a successful and fulfilled future with his family and his friends.”