Johnny Small has spent 28 years in prison for a murder of a woman he was convicted of when he was 15. He now faces the possibility of freedom, after a childhood friend who was a key prosecution witness admitted he lied. In 1989, a judge sentenced Mr Small to life imprisonment for the murder of 32-year-old Pam Dreher, and till this day Mr Small maintains he was innocent.
His mother who he has not seen for 6 years died from illness in February after getting tired over making long trips to visit him in prison. Small says he cries till this day whenever he thinks of her.
Small said he contemplated committing suicide as he was constantly denied parole and all he could do was just sit down and watch his life fade away right before his very eyes.
“I used to sit out in that yard, looking at that fence, just thinking of just climbing on up and making them shoot me off it,” he said, speaking of the prison yard, according to WWAY.In 2012, David Bollinger, Small’s childhood friend who was the key witness against him in the 1988 trial, contacted the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence to shockingly admit that he lied on the stand in 1988, and he doesn’t think Small killed anyone. David Bollinger said that a detective forced him to testify against Small. Bollinger said the detective threatened him with the death penalty if he did not do as he was told.
Bollinger who was only 19 years old and scared for his life at the time of the first trial said he now feels he needs to come forward and do the right thing.
The story of how Smalls got wrongly accused and imprisoned;
On July 13, 1988, 32-year-old Pamela Dreher’s body was found facedown in Tropical Paradise, the pet store she owned on Wrightsville Avenue in Wilmington. She’d owned the shop for three short months.
There was a single gunshot wound in the back of her head, and $173 was missing from the register. Confusingly, her purse and jewelry remained untouched.