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Va. appeals court exonerates man in sexual assault

Friday - 12/20/2013, 12:50pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Court of Appeals has exonerated a man who spent four years in prison for a sexual assault he didn't commit.

A three-judge panel of the court unanimously granted Johnathan Montgomery's petition for a writ of actual innocence Friday. The state attorney general's office supported Montgomery's innocence claim.

Montgomery was convicted in Hampton based solely on the testimony of Elizabeth Paige Coast, who claimed Montgomery molested her in 2000 when she was 10 and he was 14. She later admitted she lied. Last summer, she was sentenced to two months in jail for committing perjury.

Gov. Bob McDonnell granted Montgomery a conditional pardon last year, freeing him from prison but leaving the conviction on his record while the innocence petition was pending in the appeals court.

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