Locked up for half his life for a crime he did not commit, Michael Austin worked to free his spirit and then himself. On May 5, 1975, at the age of twenty-six, Mr. Austin was sentenced to life plus fifteen years for the 1974 armed robbery and murder of a security guard at an East Baltimore food market. He proclaimed his innocence from the beginning but it took 27 long years to prove that he was indeed innocent.
On December 28, 2001, Michael was freed from 27 years of wrongful imprisonment by a Baltimore Circuit Court Judge who stated that “Michael Austin as an accused was wronged, and no matter the age of the wrong, it remains wrong.” Centurion Ministries’ five year investigation of this 1974 robbery/murder yielded new evidence of innocence, which was presented at a 2001 evidentiary hearing. Among the fresh witnesses was an eyewitness to the crime who had never testified before. He told the judge that Michael could not be the offender because the offender stood eyeball to eyeball with the witness during the crime. The offender was definitely no taller than the 5΄9˝ witness. Michael is 6΄5˝. The prosecutor dropped all charges in early January 2002.
In October of 2003, Governor Robert Ehrlich, Jr. granted Mr. Austin a full pardon. In November 2004, Michael spoke before the board of Public Works. Governor Ehrlich was so impressed with Michael's positive message that he requested Michael to participate with him in a mentoring session with students from Lake Clifton High School.