A MISSOURI MAN WHO SPENT 28 YEARS IN PRISON FOR A MURDER HE DIDN’T COMMIT AND THE MAN WHO HELPED PUT HIM BEHIND BARS TELL THEIR STORIES IN 48 HOURS: “LAMAR JOHNSON: STANDING IN TRUTH”
(L-R) Lamar Johnson and Erin Moriarty
Lamar Johnson was 21 in 1995 when he was charged with the murder of a friend, Markus Boyd. Johnson said he was miles away with his girlfriend and daughter, but he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison primarily based on the testimony of Greg Elking, who picked Johnson out of a police lineup. Nearly three decades later, Johnson’s conviction was vacated after Elking recanted his identification of Johnson. Now, Johnson tells the story of his fight to prove his innocence and Elking explains why he lied at Johnson’s trial to 48 HOURS correspondent Erin Moriarty. The broadcast “Lamar Johnson: Standing in Truth” will air Saturday, April 29 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+.
“You feel like you’re in a hole or a sewer, and you’re looking up and you’re … calling out for help from people, and people are walking by because they don’t hear you,” Johnson tells Moriarty about his time in prison.
Years later, while working on Johnson’s case, The Midwest Innocence Project discovered that Elking had recanted his trial testimony in a letter to a clergyman. Yet, the case continued to stall until 2018, when the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office – led by Kimberly Gardner – agreed to review the conviction. A year later, her team released a detailed report listing numerous errors that undermined Lamar Johnson’s conviction. Following a change in Missouri law, in December 2022, a judge heard his case at an innocence hearing and two months later Johnson was exonerated.
Did it occur to Greg Elking that he might have put an innocent man behind bars?
“Yes, without a doubt,” he tells Moriarty. “I lied because I thought I was doing the right thing.”
48 HOURS: “Lamar Johnson: Standing in Truth” is produced by Marcelena Spencer and Emily Wichick. Mead Stone is the producer-editor. Stephen A. McCain is the development producer. Chelsea Narvaez is the associate producer. Atticus Brady and Joan Adelman are the editors. Lourdes Aguiar is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.
48 HOURS, now in its 35th year, is one of the most successful true-crime docuseries in television history and has been the #1 non-sports broadcast on Saturday nights for 16 consecutive years. 48 HOURS is broadcast Saturdays at 10:00 PM, ET/PT on CBS, and streams anytime on Paramount+. You can also watch 48 HOURS on the CBS News Streaming Network Wednesdays at 8:00 PM, ET. Download the CBS News app on your phone or connected TV. Follow 48 HOURS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Listen to podcasts at CBS Audio.