Locked away at the age of 18, Kevin Strickland will finally be free. Joining the ranks of exonerated people, Strickland had spent his entire adult life locked away for a crime he didn’t commit.
His release comes over 42 years after he was convicted of a triple homicide. It is the longest wrongful conviction in Missouri History and one of the longest in the country.
The charges stemmed from a 1978 shooting that took the lives of three people and injured a fourth. According to CNN, Cynthia Douglas was the only survivor. She was able to identify two of the shooters immediately but reportedly identified Strickland only after officers planted the suggestion that he looked like one of the suspects.
Despite being the main witness against Strickland, Douglas doubted his guilt and later reached out to help free him, citing a mistake.
Strickland spent more time in prison than those who committed the crime. Some of those involved have insisted Strickland maintained he had nothing to do with the shooting.
The Midwest Innocence Project is encouraging people to donate to a GoFundMe to support Strickland. Missouri’s compensation law for wrongful convictions is very narrowly tailored, barring Strickland from recovery.
Compounding the injustice, the Kansas City Star reported Strickland would not benefit from the support of a parole officer or any other services from the state.
“In Missouri, the wrongly convicted are almost always spit out of the system with nothing from the government that imprisoned them,” the Kansas City Star reported. “Instead, they rely on nonprofits and other exonerees to get back on their feet, post-conviction lawyers say.”
As of Tuesday evening, the GoFundMe surpassed $150,000.
In a written statement about Strickland’s case in August, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker quoted the famous phrase “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Baker continued on to say that the case was a stark example of the system getting a case “terribly wrong.”
Strickland was tried twice, with his first trial ending in a hung jury. The second trial in which he was found guilty had an all-white jury.
Despite the state attorney general’s opposition, Judge James Welsh ruled in favor of exoneration finding “clear and convincing” evidence to support overturning the conviction.
Exonerated! Wrongly Convicted Black Folks Whose Names Have Been Cleared
1. Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil IslamSource:Getty 1 of 17
2. Juwan Deering2 of 17
3. Herbert Alford
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A Michigan man who spent nearly five years in custody is suing Hertz for failing to produce in a timely manner a receipt that would have proved his innocence long before he was convicted of a 2011 murder. https://t.co/kZaI5tdOv4— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 12, 2021
4. Walter Forbes
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“I don’t hold contempt for the people who lied to convict me ... The reason is selfish: I wasn’t going to allow them to destroy me," said Walter Forbes, freed and exonerated last week after 37 years with the help of @UofMInnocence. https://t.co/WfanIitchU— The Innocence Project (@innocence) December 14, 2020
5. Termaine Joseph Hicks
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An innocent Philadelphia man has been freed after spending 19 years in prison because two police officers wrongly claimed he’d raped a woman and then shot at them, when he’d in fact saved her from a different man .Attorneys for Termaine Joseph Hicks claim cops made up the story . pic.twitter.com/FJp5DQUMoQ— HJ (Hank) Ellison (@hjtherealj) December 18, 2020
6. Clifford Williams, Nathan Myers
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After a combined 86 years incarcerated for a crime they did not commit, Clifford Williams Jr. and his nephew, Nathan Myers, were exonerated and released last week! Mr. Myers was 18 when he was arrested and is now 61. Mr. Williams was 33 and is now 76. https://t.co/EH2qPCspEj— Equal Justice Initiative (@eji_org) April 5, 2019
7. Calvin BrightSource:WUSA9 7 of 17
8. Kevin Baker, Sean Washington
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Kevin Baker and Sean Washington received life terms in 1996 that were overturned on appeal in December https://t.co/MSWoxkwPzi— Courier-Post (@cpsj) February 4, 2020
9. Theophalis Wilson
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Theophalis Wilson was 17-years-old when he was falsely accused of a triple murder in Philadelphia and sentenced to life in prison. Now, 28 years later, he finally has his freedom. He spoke with @KeithJones https://t.co/mVDISp68hy pic.twitter.com/RQ2pEdZBfM— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) January 22, 2020
10. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart
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And they are out: Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walk out of the Baltimore city courthouse after 36 yrs for a crime they didn’t do: pic.twitter.com/5UDGWMZmOB— Tom Jackman (@TomJackmanWP) November 25, 2019
11. Deandre Charles11 of 17
12. Exonerated Five - Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise12 of 17
13. Anthony Ray Hinton
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Name: Anthony Ray Hinton, who was on Alabama’s Death Row for nearly 30 years for a murder he didn’t commit. In 2018, he wrote about his experience in the NYT bestseller, The Sun Does Shine.— City of Birmingham (@cityofbhamal) October 4, 2019
Occupation: Works in community education with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery pic.twitter.com/EwiaJueimb
14. Lamar Johnson14 of 17
15. Wilbert Jones
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Louisiana man freed from prison after serving 43 years for a crime he did not commit. Wilbert Jones was arrested in 1971 at the age of 19 and convicted of rape in 1974. A judge overturned his conviction weeks ago. He still had to pay $2,000 bail before becoming a free man today. pic.twitter.com/LYV4gbTPOf— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) November 15, 2017
16. Xavier DavisSource:Courtesy of Xavier Davis 16 of 17
17. Huwe Burton
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2,372nd Exon: Huwe Burton was convicted in 1991 for stabbing his mother to death when he was 16. He was exonerated on Jan 24th after an investigation showed that his confession was coerced and that his mother's real killer was likely a downstairs neighbor. https://t.co/TM3f76moQ5 pic.twitter.com/rsU1NlPr2y— Exoneration Registry (@exonerationlist) February 4, 2019
Missouri Man Exonerated After Serving 42 Years For A Crime He Didn’t Commit was originally published on newsone.com