Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Tyjuan Anderson





50 years

Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:


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Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:


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Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Lumont D. Johnson, Tyjuan Anderson, and Anthony S. Ross were codefendants wrongly convicted of murder in the drive-by shooting death of 8-year-old Demarcus Hanson on April 14, 2002 in Rockford, Ill. Their convictions were based on the eyewitness testimony of Hanson's uncle, Alex Dowthard. Dowthard told the police when first questioned that he wasn't present at the time of the shooting, but he changed his story after he was taken into custody on a parole violation for shooting a firearm in a separate incident. He provided a written statement identifying the three as involved in the shooting. Johnson and Anderson were convicted after a joint trial in October 2002, and Ross was convicted after a trial in February 2004. All three defendants asserted their innocence and presented alibi defenses. After their convictions each of the three defendants were sentenced to 50 years in prison. Just days before the start of the trial of Johnson and Anderson evidence was turned over by the prosecution that included 40 hours of audio tapes of Dowthard's telephone conversations with family and friends while in custody. There was a lot of static and neither Johnson nor Anderson's lawyer listened to the tapes. Consequently, their lawyers didn't incorporate anything Dowthard said in the tapes into their cross-examination of Dowthard's damning prosecution testimony. Although he had more than an additional year to prepare, Ross' lawyer didn't listen to the tapes. The convictions of the three were affirmed on appeal (Anderson in 2006; Ross in 2006, and Johnson in 2005). The three defendants then individually filed post-conviction petitions seeking a new trial, primarily asserting ineffective assistance of counsel. Post-conviction counsel for the three made repeated requests for discovery material that included the Dowthard tapes. The State advised the post-conviction judge that the tapes couldn't be located. In November 2011 Johnson's post-conviction counsel reported to the judge that he discovered the tapes among the many materials provided by Johnson's trial lawyer, after they had been separated from the paper files in the case. The tapes were subsequently transcribed. It was discovered that Dowthard admitted to getting a deal from the State and not being present at the time of Hanson's shooting. The tapes also revealed that Dowthard was coached by various people about what to tell the police. The three were allowed to amend their petitions with new ineffective assistance of counsel and due process claims based on the new exculpatory evidence in the tapes. During an evidentiary hearing in November 2012 the judge heard the exculpatory portions of the audio tapes, the detective in charge of the homicide investigation, former Rockford Police officer, Douglas Palmer, testified that he knew the three defendants were not involved in the shooting and he helped frame them for murder, and several people testified that two other men were responsible for Hanson's death, one of whom is in prison and the other dead. On March 19, 2013 Winnebago County Chief Judge Joseph McGraw granted their petition. He later ordered the defendants could be released on bond. Johnson and Ross were released on April 16, 2013 on $100,000 bond each, while Anderson was released on April 30, 2013 on $150,000 bond. On November 7, 2014 the Illinois Court of Appeal affirmed Judge McGraw's grant of a new trial. On March 17, 2015 Johnson and Ross filed a joint 42 USC 1983 federal civil rights lawsuit that named defendants including Palmer, the City of Rockford, and eight other named individuals. The next day Anderson filed a similar lawsuit. On November 6, 2015 Johnson, Anderson and Ross were acquited of first-degree murder after a retrial by Winnebago County Chief Judge Joseph McGraw without a jury."

Conviction Caused By:

"Perjury by the prosecution's lone "eyewitness.""

Innocence Proved By:

"On November 6, 2015 Johnson, Anderson and Ross were acquited after a retrial by Winnebago County Chief Judge Joseph McGraw without a jury."

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


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Information Source 1:

"Three Acccuse Rockford Police of Frame Job, By Nick Divito, Courthouse News Service, March 18, 2015"

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

"Anderson v. City Of Rockford et al., No. 3:2015cv50065 (Illinois Northern District Court) (42 USC 1983 civil rights lawsuit filed on March 18, 2015)"

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Information Source 3:

"Judge tosses guilty verdict of 3 men convicted of killing 8-year-old, By Staff, WREX-TV (Rockford, Illinois), March 19, 2013"

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Information Source 4:

"State v. Lumont D. Johnson, et al, No. 2014 IL App (2d) 130368-U (Ill. Ct. of Appeals, Dist. II, 11-7-2014) (Affirming grant of a new trial)"

Information Location 4:


Information Source 5:

"3 men found not guilty in 2002 killing of DeMarcus Hanson in Rockford, By Georgette Braun (Staff writer), Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL), November 6, 2015"

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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