Campaign Raises $1M for Missouri Man Wrongfully Convicted of Murder
*Kevin Strickland was released from prison last week after a retired Missouri Court of Appeals judge decided to set aside his conviction for a 1978 triple murder in Kansas City.
Now, donations are pouring in via a GoFundMe fundraiser to help Strickland, and donors have raised over $1 million.
Here’s more from USA Today:
Many of the donors expressed outrage that the 62-year-old wouldn’t receive compensation from Missouri. The state only allows wrongful imprisonment payments to people exonerated through DNA evidence, so Strickland doesn’t qualify. Judge James Welsh, a retired Missouri Court of Appeals judge, ordered his release Tuesday, finding that evidence used to convict Strickland had since been recanted or disproven.
The Midwest Innocence Project set up the online fundraiser in June as they fought for his release. They said he needed help paying for basic living expenses. Organizers praised donors Tuesday, writing, “All funds go directly to Mr. Strickland, who the state of Missouri won’t provide a dime to for the 43 years they stole from him.”
We previously reported that Strickland, 62, spent the last 43 years in prison maintaining his innocence, saying he wasn’t anywhere near the crime scene. A woman, who was wounded in the gunfire, recanted her story placing Strickland at the scene. For years she told people Strickland wasn’t there. She died recently, making it impossible for her to testify at a hearing. Fingerprint evidence also suggests he wasn’t at the crime scene.
Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Strickland, 62, was wrongly convicted. After hearings earlier this month, Judge James Welsh decided to set aside Strickland’s conviction in time for Thanksgiving.
Jackson County prosecutors exercised a new Missouri law allowing them to review past cases in which they believe someone was wrongly convicted of a crime. However, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office argued that Strickland was one of the killers and should remain in prison.
In a statement on Twitter, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said, “Earlier this year, I signed SB 53, which created a judicial procedure for prosecuting attorneys to use, in cases like this one, where the prosecutor believes that there was a miscarriage of justice and a wrongful conviction was entered.
“The Court has made its decision, we respect the decision, and the Department of Corrections will proceed with Mr. Strickland’s release immediately.”
Strickland has always maintained that he was home watching television when the killings occurred when he was age 18.
As he left prison last week, Strickland said, “I can’t begin to say all the things I am thankful for.”