A man convicted of a 1983 murder is now free, after a Monterey County judge overturned his conviction following an appeal using a new law, according to a news release on Friday by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.
The court overturned the murder conviction of Alfred Johnson and resentenced him to the maximum term of six years for two counts of assault with a firearm, which he had already. The judge sentenced Johnson to serve the maximum period of three years on parole.
Johnson was convicted in 1983 for the murder of Steven Edwards that same year, although he was not accused of being the actual killer.
The 2019 law that Johnson used allows defendants to challenge their convictions that were based on old rules where the defendant would not be subject to prosecution for murder under the current statute.
Evidence was lost or destroyed by the original trial court and the court of appeal, according to the district attorney’s office, as was evidence from the original police agency and the prosecuting agency.
For this challenge, the prosecution was able to present only a partial preliminary hearing transcript, and the judge ruled that the People had failed to re-prove Johnson’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to that testimony, shared in the news release, Johnson was a co-defendant in the case with Frank McCormick, who was accused of shooting Edwards.
Johnson, who was then on parole for a rape conviction, and Edwards had argued the day before the murder, according to the evidence provided, and Johnson was with McCormick the following day when Johnson saw Edwards in sitting in a parked car and drove his car over to it.
The evidence shared reports that Johnson tried to beat Edwards through the open window of the passenger-wide window before McCormick shot Edwards to death.