A Virginia man convicted of a rape that he did not commit will walk free after spending four years behind bars.
The Virginia Court of Appeals exonerated Johnathan Montgomery Friday, the result of a protracted legal battle that began after his accuser, Elizabeth Paige Coast, admitted she had lied in her testimony.
That testimony was the only evidence that sent Montgomery to prison in 2009 with convictions of forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and animate object sexual penetration.
“Absent Coast’s original testimony, the record contains no evidence of Montgomery’s guilt,” the appeals court said. “There are no witnesses who testified that the incident ever occurred. There is no physical evidence that a crime ever happened. The record is entirely devoid of any evidence that incriminates Montgomery.”
Coast claimed at the age of 17 that Montgomery had molested her in Hampton in 2000, when she was 10 and he was 14. Last year she admitted to making up the story by way of explanation to her parents for looking at porn on the Internet. Montgomery had moved out of Virginia, and she said she believed nothing would happen to him.