Montell and his mother, Gloria
By: Ken Richardson
Monday, January 28, 2013
On January 25, Montell Johnson had his 47th birthday celebration at University Church in Chicago. About 30 friends of Montell, and his mother, Gloria Johnson, gathered to celebrate another year of freedom for Montell; and vowed to continue the fight to ensure no mother has to endure what Gloria Johnson endured.
Montell had spent 15 years behind bars; he was diagnosed with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis in 2001, when he was on Illinois' death row. In 2003, George Ryan, then the governor of Illinois, commuted his sentence to forty-years. In 2008, former governor Rod Blagojevich pardoned Montell based on the severity of his illness. Neither of these things would have happened with constant public and legal pressure, and the determination of his mother, Gloria Johnson.