- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A man has been released from a Pennsylvania prison after more than two decades following what he called a “bitter pill” of a no contest plea to a Harrisburg bar slaying he has maintained he didn’t commit.

Forty-seven-year-old Lorenzo Johnson was freed Tuesday after a Dauphin County judge accepted his plea to third-degree murder and conspiracy in the December 1995 slaying of Tarajay Williams.

Under a no contest plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.

Johnson said he acted to spare his relatives. He said “I felt it was time to take the pain away.”

Johnson was freed in 2012 after a federal appeals court threw out his conviction, but he was back behind bars four months later after prosecutors appealed.

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