Kevin Strickland Released From Prison 43 Years After Being Wrongfully Convicted — How To Donate To His GoFundMe

Photo: GoFundMe
Kevin Strickland

A Kansas man who was in jail for 43 years for three murders was released from prison after a judge ruled that he was wrongfully convicted of the crimes in 1979. 

Kevin Strickland, 62, has always maintained his innocence, claiming he had been home watching television and had nothing to do with the murders, which happened when he was 18 years old.

Strickland learned of his release while watching a soap opera on the television in prison when the news scrolled across the screen.

“I’m not necessarily angry. It’s a lot. I think I’ve created emotions that you all don’t know about just yet,” Strickland told reporters as he left the Western Missouri correctional center in Cameron.

He said as soon as the news started broadcasting of his exoneration, the inmates around him began screaming.

How to donate to Kevin Strickland's GoFundMe:

A GoFundMe account has been set up by the Midwest Innocence Project to help him restart his life after it was revealed that the state of Missouri is providing no compensation for the time that Strickland spent in prison.

The fundraiser has already raised over $375,000.

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Evidence used to convict Strickland has been disproven.

Senior Judge James Welsh filed his ruling on Tuesday morning to set aside the conviction of Strickland after he was convicted of one count of capital murder and two counts of second-degree murder in a triple homicide.

Strickland received a 50-year life sentence without the possibility for parole for a crime he maintains he never committed.

The exoneration was filed after a three-day evidentiary hearing that was requested by a Jackson County prosecutor who said evidence used to convict Strickland had since been recanted or disproven.

Strickland said he would like to become involved in efforts to “keep this from happening to someone else,” claiming that the criminal justice system “needs to be torn down and redone.”

Strickland was convicted in the deaths of Larry Ingram, 21, John Walker, 20, and Sherrie Black, 22, at a home in Kansas City.

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The evidentiary hearing focused solely on testimony from Cynthia Douglas, the sole survivor from the attack on April 25, 1978. 

Douglas initially identified Strickland as one of four men who shot the victims and testified to that during his two trials.

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It wasn’t until later that she admitted the police had pressured her into identifying Strickland and she tried for years to alert political and legal experts to help her prove she had identified the wrong man.

Strickland’s first trial ended in a hung jury when the only Black juror held out for acquittal. 

It was after his second trial in 1979 that Strickland was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced.

According to data from The Innocence Project, Black people are more likely to be convicted of murder when the victim is white.

Among Black people exonerated from murder convictions, approximately 31% were wrongfully convicted of killing white people.

Innocent Black people also spend an average of 13.8 years wrongfully imprisoned before being exonerated, which is about 45% longer than innocent white people.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.