A judge has ordered the release of Kevin Strickland, ending one of the longest wrongful convictions in US history.
Kevin Strickland, age 62, has been in prison for 43 years, serving time after being convicted for allegedly murdering three people in 1978. However, certain aspects of the conviction have been scrutinized and there has been controversy surrounding the case.
Now Judge James Welsh has made the ruling today, November 23, exonerating Strickland and declaring that the conviction was flawed.
Judge Walsh released a statement about why he chose to exonerate Strickland:
Under these unique circumstances, the Court’s confidence in Strickland’s conviction is so undermined that it cannot stand, and the judgment of conviction must be set aside The State of Missouri shall immediately discharge Kevin Bernard Strickland from its custody.
In 1979, Strickland was found guilty of shooting and killing Larry Ingram, John Walker, and Sherrie Black in Kansas City, Missouri. The incident took place during a home invasion. However, Strickland, who was 18 at the time, said he was at home when the crime was committed.
The conviction of Strickland was mostly based off testimony provided by one eye witness named Cynthia Douglas. There was no physical evidence found at the crime scene that connected Strickland to the murders. Over the years even Douglas tried to recant her testimony, but Strickland remained in prison.
According to the Missouri Attorney General’s office, there was no evidence that Douglas actually tried to recant her testimony. But after repeated tried, Judge Walsh ruled in favor of Strickland and has ordered his immediate release.
The Missouri AG’s spokesman Chris Nuelle told Fox 4 KC shared why the office wanted to uphold the conviction:
In this case, we defended the rule of law and the decision that a jury of Mr Strickland’s peers made after hearing all of the facts in the case. The Court has spoken, no further action will be taken in this matter.
Strickland told The Washington Post the first thing he plans to do after being released from prison is see his mother’s grave:
If we don’t stop at the gravesite first, I’m going to get out of the car and I’m going to try to make it there on my hands and knees.