Kevin Strickland Exonerated After Spending 43 Years in Missouri Prison

In Summary

A Black man has been exonerated after spending more than 40 years in a Missouri prison in one of the longest unjust imprisonments in American history.

Kevin Strickland, 62, hasn’t seen the outside of a prison cell in 43 years after being convicted of a crime he claims he didn’t commit, but that all changed on Tuesday morning. 

CNN reported Strickland was released from the Western Missouri Correctional Facility in Cameron, Missouri, after a judge overturned his conviction for capital murder and two charges of second-degree murder in a 1978 triple homicide.  

RELATED: Groveland Four Posthumously Exonerated 7 Decades After Rape Accusation 

Strickland was sentenced to a 50-year life sentence without the possibility of parole after being found guilty in the killings of Sherrie Black, 22, Larry Ingram, 21 and John Walker, 20. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime site, family members offered alibis and the accused killers said he was not present.  

Prosecutors relied on the testimony of Cynthia Douglas, the single survivor and eyewitness, who later attempted to recant her statement, claiming she was pushed by police. 

“To say we’re extremely pleased and grateful is an understatement. This brings justice, finally, to a man who has tragically suffered so, so greatly as a result of this wrongful conviction,” said Peter Bakers.  

Strickland, according to Bakers, is an illustration of what occurs when a system designed to be fair just gets it terribly wrong. 

The Midwest Innocence Project has set up a GoFundMe in Strickland’s favor, since he will receive no compensation for the wrongful time he spent behind bars. 

RELATED: Two Black Men Accused of Killing Malcolm X To Be Exonerated 

As of Thanksgiving Day, the campaign surpassed its $750,000 goal, garnering nearly $1 million from more than 14,000 supporters. 

According to The National Registry of Exonerations, Strickland’s release makes his unjust imprisonment the longest in Missouri history and one of the longest in the country. He said he is “still in disbelief,” speaking from a wheelchair after being released from prison.

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