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Walden Green Montessori students met with Lacino Hamilton (center) on Oct. 7 after they helped free the wrongfully convicted man. Hamilton was in prison for 26 years after being falsely accused of murdering his foster mother. Pictured are from left to right: Walden Green Montessori teacher Charles Freeman, Chloe Westendorf, Lacino Hamilton, Katelyn Byrnes and Simone Dennison.

FERRYSBURG — When Charles Freeman asked his eighth-graders at Walden Green Montessori School to investigate an ongoing culture war back in 2018, it took him by surprise when three of his students chose to lead a charge in freeing a wrongfully convicted Detroit man.

But that’s exactly what happened when Katelyn Byrnes, Simone Dennison and Chloe Westendorf discovered an article written by an inmate, Lacino Hamilton, titled: “I’ve Been in Prison for 24 Years and I Feel Dead.” Their efforts eventually led to Hamilton being released from jail.

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Hamilton speaks to Walden Green Montessori School students on Oct. 7.

Contact Matthew at mehler@grandhaventribune.com.

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