“At a new trial, an informed jury can hear what we didn’t: all of the evidence. I am convinced and know in my heart that Mr. Johnson is innocent. But I believe a full and fair trial is the only way to prove it.”

Monique Hicks, Juror

Monique Hicks, one of the twelve people who served on the Alabama jury that convicted Toforest Johnson and sentenced him to death, said in an op-ed published on April 22, 2024 that she now believes Mr. Johnson deserves a new trial. Ms. Hicks recounts the new evidence that has come to light in the case and writes, “My role in the wrongful conviction of an innocent man keeps me awake at night.” 

Mr. Johnson’s conviction rested on the testimony of a single witness who, despite not knowing Mr. Johnson, claimed to hear his voice confessing to the crime on the phone and who was secretly paid a $5,000 reward. For two decades, local officials repeatedly denied the existence of any reward paid to their star witness.  Only after defense counsel received information from a retired state employee did the state finally admit it. Numerous Alabama legal officials support a new trial, including the current District Attorney, the original trial prosecutor, a former Chief Justice, and a former Attorney General.