Kansas City – A Kansas City man jailed for more than 40 years for three murders was mistakenly convicted in 1979 and will be released, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Kevin Strickland, 62, always maintained that he was at home watching television and had nothing to do with the murders, committed when he was 18 years old.
Judge James WelshThe Missouri Court of Appeals ruled after a three-day hearing requested by a Jackson County prosecutor who said the evidence used to convict Strickland had been withdrawn and refuted.
The Missouri Attorney General, Eric Schmitt, objected to the prosecutor’s request Jean Peters and political leaders to free Strickland as guilty, and the governor Mike Parson rejected requests for clemency.
Strickland was convicted of the murders of 21-year-old Larry Ingram; John Walker, 20; and Sherrie Black, 22, at a home in Kansas City.
The audience focused primarily on the testimony of Cynthia Douglas, the only person who survived the massacre of April 25, 1978. He initially identified Strickland as one of the four perpetrators of the massacre and testified in two trials.
But then she said the police had pressured her to elect Strickland and tried for years to alert legal and political experts to help her prove that she had identified the wrong man., as stated at the hearing by family, friends and a colleague. Douglas died in 2015.
Strickland is black, and his first trial ended without a decision when the only black jury refused to find him guilty. At the second trial, an all-white jury found him guilty.