Bay County Man Remains in Prison, Although Innocent

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In 2007, Jonathan Montgomery was sent to prison for sexually assaulting a girl in 2000, when she was 10-years old. Now the girl, who is 22-years old, says she made-up the entire story, however Montgomery remains in prison in Virginia.

Five years ago, Lynn Haven police arrested Montgomery from his job at flap jacks. The Haney Technical graduate was tried, convicted and imprisoned in Virginia, based solely on the testimony of Elizabeth Coast.

"For 5 years our voices have been silenced. For 5 years, she's had a chance to come forward, for 5 years she's had chances to tell the truth,” said Jonathan’s father, David Montgomery. “To have had them get to this point to where the petition for writ of habeas corpus was denied...he's exhausted every possible avenue in the state courts, we were getting ready to go to the federal court with it when this came out."

Then last week, Coast admitted she made-up the entire story, because her parent had caught her looking at pornographic computer sites.

"There is a purely innocent man whose life was taken from him based on the word of one individual 5 years ago who we now all know had made the entire thing up,” said Chief Deputy Public Defender, Ben Pavek, “and is sitting in a Virginia prison under no legal authority whatsoever."

Last Friday the judge in the case ordered Montgomery released from prison, but the attorney general has refused, claiming the judge does not have that authority.

"You know how is this fair that Jonathan who never even committed the crime is still in prison not being allowed to walk, to be free, and for her to have committed a felony crime - she's still permitted to walk free," said Jonathan’s mother Mishia Woodruff.

Montgomery has been moved to solitary confinement awaiting his pending release, his family is now focusing on legislation to help others faced with a similar situation.

"When they come back admit it and in writing confess to multiple individuals that they entire allegation was fabrication on her part,” said Montgomery’s father. “That there should be an avenue for immediate release."

The family has started petitions on and the National Coalition for Men asking for his release. Coast is free on bond after she was arrested for felony perjury.

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