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Loren Hamby


Sentenced to life in prison in 1939 for the murder of a filling station attendant in Walsenburg, Colorado, Loren Hamby was pardoned and released seven years later based on the results of post-conviction lie detector tests that supported Hamby’s innocence and undermined the testimony by the prosecution’s star witness.
 
On June 22, 1937, at approximately 8:00 p.m., George T. Carnes was murdered during a holdup at his filling station in Walsenburg, Colorado. When accused of the crime, Loren Hamby stated that he had been listening to a broadcast of the Louis-Braddock heavyweight fight at the time of the murder. The prosecution presented a witness who undermined Hamby’s alibi, and the jury subsequently convicted Hamby of first-degree murder. On appeal, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the conviction. The Court noted the palpable perjury at the trial on the question of Hamby’s alibi but explained that the jury is in the best position to determine the truth when there is conflicting testimony.
 
During his incarceration, Hamby’s family used most of their financial resources in clearing his name. In October 1945, Professor Leonarde Keeler, who invented the lie detector test, agreed to administer the lie detector test on Hamby, Alex Nardini, the prosecution’s star witness, and a defense witness. The results of the lie detector tests suggested that Hamby listened to the entire Louis-Braddock fight and did not participate in the crime and that Nardini had perjured himself at Hamby’s trial and had no specific knowledge regarding Hamby’s guilt.
 
On April 3, 1946, Governor John C. Vivian granted Hamby a full, free and unconditional pardon based on, among other things, (a) the fact that it appeared from the opinion of the Colorado Supreme Court that there was palpable perjury at the trial on the question of Hamby’s alibi, and (b) the appearance that the testimony defeating Hamby’s alibi had been perjured, thus leaving the alibi supported by seven witnesses.
 
Hamby was released from prison on April 3, 1946. On May 12, 1947, he received $10,000 in reparations from the Colorado State legislature and immediately signed the check over to his mother, who had led the charge in the efforts to prove his innocence.
 
- Nancy Clapp
State:CO
County:Huerfano
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Reported Crime Date:1937
Convicted:1939
Exonerated:1946
Sentence:Life
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:20
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation