43 years imprisonment for triple murder of accused

The plaintiffs said a Kansas City man who spent 43 years in prison for the triple murder was wrongly convicted and should be released.

61-year-old Kevin Strickland was acquitted in his first 1979 trial, but a jury convicted him two months later on two counts of capital murder and second-degree murder. Kansas City Star reported.

Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office began looking into the sentence after November Newspaper reported Two men convicted in the April 1978 murder said Strickland was not with them at the time.

It drew a review, which ended Monday with prosecutors calling for Strickland, as the case relied heavily on the testimony of a now-deceased witness who re-entered his mistaken identity before dying in 2015 had tried.

If finally released, he would be sentenced to the longest period of wrongful imprisonment in the state’s history, Star reported.

s.  Benton Ave Murder
The murders took place in this small white bungalow on South Benton Avenue.
Kansas City Police Department

The “tainted identity” by Cynthia Douglas, who was also shot during the murder, was the only direct evidence linking Strickland to the triple homicide, her lawyers told the Star.

Kevin strickland
Kevin Strickland has maintained his innocence for years.
Missouri DOC

During Strickland’s trial, prosecutors claimed they had a firearm, but no fingerprints on the weapon could be compared. However, new forensic testing shows that a fingerprint on the gun is not of Strickland, prosecutors said.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said, “Everyone who has reviewed the evidence in recent months agrees – Kevin Strickland wants to be overbearing” Said in a statement Monday. “This is a profound error that we must fix now.”

Prosecutors said Douglas contacted the Midwest Innocence Project in February 2009 and said she wanted to help Strickland.

Kevin Strickland (right) stands for a lineup in the Kansas City Police Department in 1978.
Kevin Strickland (right) stands for a lineup in the Kansas City Police Department in 1978.
Jackson County Prosecutor

Douglas wrote, “I was the only witness and things were not clear then, but now I know more and would like to help this person.”

Baker held a press conference Monday with Strickland’s lawyers for the Midwest Innocence Project, supporting his call to release him from prison.

Baker and Chief Deputy Daniel Nelson wrote in a letter to lawyers for Strickland, “The jury’s verdict must now be withheld, where the jury heard nothing of this concrete evidence.”

Strickland has long maintained its innocence in the killings. Prosecutors said the co-defendants had also confessed to their crime and insisted that Strickland did not participate in the April 1978 massacre.

A third man suspected in the murders, who was never charged, says Strickland was not there, The Star reported.

Strickland remained in custody on Tuesday at the Western Missouri Correctional Center, where he was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole of 50 years, Records show.

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