Kevin Strickland visits his mother’s grave for the first time after serving 43 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit

“To know my mother was down there and I hadn’t had a chance to visit her over the years… I watched the tears I shed when they told me I had sinned. that I didn’t commit,” Strickland told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Wednesday.

At 19, Strickland, now 62, was convicted in 1979 of one count of murder and two counts of second-degree murder in a Kansas City, Missouri triple homicide. He received a 50-year life sentence without the possibility of parole and served 43 years behind bars at the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri, – until this Tuesday, when the Senior Judge James Welsh submit its verdict to remove Strickland’s conviction.

Strickland said he learned of his passing through a breaking news broadcast that interrupted the soap opera he was watching on Tuesday.

All charges against Strickland were dismissed. His release makes his detention the longest false imprisonment in Missouri history and one of the longest in the nation, according to National Registry of Forgiveness.

Facing a world he doesn’t know much about

Strickland’s first night out of prison was a restless one, where the thoughts of returning to prison, among others, kept him awake, he said Wednesday.

“I’m used to living in a closed cell where I know exactly what’s going on in there with me,” he said. “And being at home and you hear the creaking in the house and the wiring and whatever… I was a little scared. I thought someone was going to come get me.”

More than 2,800 people have been wrongly convicted in the US.  Lawmakers and advocates want to make sure they've paid their dues.

Now that Strickland is a free man adjusting to a new world – a world free from cell detention and subject to regimental prison routines – he is working to build a new home. home and life for himself without any financial assistance from Missouri.

In Missouri, only those exonerated through DNA testing are eligible for $50 per day of post-conviction detention, according to Innocent project. That is not the case for Strickland.
The two brothers were unjustly convicted of rape and murder.  Almost 40 years later, they received $75 million in compensation
Thirty-six states and Washington, DC, have book laws claim compensation for lovers, according to the Innocence Project. The federal standard for compensating those wrongly convicted is a minimum of $50,000 per year incarcerated, plus an additional amount per year for death row inmates.
ONE GoFundMe was set up by the Midwest Innocence Project to help him restart his life.

Convicted as a teenager, exonerated as an adult

Four people were shot in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 25, 1978, resulting in three deaths, according to CNN affiliate KSHB. The sole survivor of the crime, Cynthia Douglas, who died in 2015, testified in 1978 that Strickland was at the scene of the triple murder.

Douglas was wounded by a shotgun and later told police that Vincent Bell and Kiln Adkins were two of the perpetrators. But she didn’t identify Strickland, who she knows, was at the scene until a day later, according to KSHB, after it was suggested that her Strickland’s hair matched Douglas’ description about the shooter. Douglas insists she initially failed to identify him as a result of cognac and marijuana use, according to KSHB.

He was wrongly convicted of murder as a teenager.  After 26 years of fighting, his name has finally been erased

But over the past 30 years, she has said she made a mistake and misidentified Strickland. According to KSHB, Douglas worked to liberate Strickland through the Midwest Innocence Project.

According to Strickland’s attorney, Robert Hoffman, the two attackers she identified at the scene were both guilty of second-degree murder and each received about 10 years in prison for the crime.

A man has been jailed for 43 years for three murders.  He said he was innocent and prosecutors agreed

Over the past year, there have been several attempts to call for the release of Strickland.

In May, a petition to the Missouri Supreme Court for his release was filed with an accompanying letter detailing the results of the Integrity Unit’s investigation into the corruption. crimes by the district attorney. The team reviews post-conviction claims of innocence when new and credible evidence of innocence becomes available.

In May, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker joined attorneys for Strickland and the Midwest Innocence Project to present evidence that has emerged since his conviction, according to court documents. But in June, the Missouri Supreme Court refused to hear Strickland’s lawsuit.

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Later that month, Missouri Governor Mike Parson released a list of 36 pardons, but Strickland was not one of them.

Earlier this month, Strickland testified in a three-day evidence hearing – which included witness testimony given under oath – and the evidence presented was sufficient to vindicate him.

In 2020, the whole country has 129 posthumous orders. According to a report from the National Registry of Exonerations, defendants pardoned last year spent a total of 1,737 years behind bars, an average of 13.4 years per pardon. And 30% of false convictions in the registry’s database can be traced back to mistaken witness identification.


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