A man who had been wrongfully locked up for almost 30 years and who had just gotten out of jail less than six months ago has died.

In 1993, Claude Francis Garrett was found guilty of killing his girlfriend, Lorie Lee Lance, who was 24 years old and died in what was thought to be an arson attack.

Garrett always said he was innocent, even after he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. It took the jury almost 30 years to reinvestigate his case, overturn his charges, and finally set him free.




The wrongfully convicted ex-convict got out of prison for the first time in nearly 30 years in May, when he was 65 years old.

But in a sad turn of events, his friend Liliana Segura, a reporter who writes about the US criminal justice system, posted on Twitter that he had died.

“There is no easy way to share this news. Claude Garrett died yesterday, less than 6 months after he was exonerated and released from prison. He appears to have died in his sleep. He was just short of his 66th birthday,” Segura began.

“I don’t have words yet; it’s heartbreaking and deeply unfair. Claude spent 30 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. He fought so hard. He was patient, focused, and when the day finally came, careful not to exhale prematurely. Not until he knew the state wouldn’t appeal,” she continued.

“Since then, and over the past 5 months, Claude relished his freedom. He enjoyed every moment with his daughter, Deana, and especially his grandson, who he absolutely adored,” the journalist added, sharing two pictures of Garrett with his grandson.

Segura also said that seeing Garrett get out of jail was “one of the most meaningful things” that had ever happened to her. She went on to say that she was sad about the years he lost and angry that prison and trauma had cut short his life. She also said that he had tried so hard to be healthy.

The journalist also found out that the innocent inmate had tried to hold the state accountable for what happened to him by writing: “Claude had plans. He wanted the state to be held accountable for his wrongful conviction.”

“He wanted compensation. It is unfathomable to me that the people most responsible for stealing so much of his life will never have to confront what they did, that they will outlive him,” she added.

On February 24, 1992, a fire started in the living room of the Old Hickory home where Garrett and his girlfriend lived. The event had to do with the wrong verdict that was given against Garrett.

Firefighters found Lorie’s body in a room that was used as a utility room after the fire was finally put out. She died because she breathed in too much smoke.

After more research, the police said that burn marks at the scene of the death showed that the fire had been started on purpose. As a result, Garrett was sentenced to life in prison by a jury that met for less than three days.

But after years of appeals, Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins ruled on May 6 that there was “clear and convincing evidence” that the original evidence of arson was “junk science” and should be thrown out. After years of appeals, this choice was made.

“The court is satisfied that (the) petitioner has presented clear and convincing evidence showing that no reasonable jury would have convicted Claude Garrett of felony murder in light of the new scientific evidence,” Judge Watkins concluded, per New York Post.