Donations are pouring in for a man who served 43 years in prison for a crime he did not commit

Thousands of people have raised nearly $ 900,000 for Kevin Strickland, who served 43 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. (CNN)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Thousands of people are raising money online for a man in Missouri who has served 43 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Kevin Strickland, 62, was acquitted Tuesday morning after serving decades at the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri. Strickland was convicted in 1979 of one count of capital murder and two counts of second-degree murder in a triple murder. He received 50 years in prison for life without the possibility of parole for a crime, which he maintained over the years that he had not been involved in.

Senior Judge James Welsh dismissed all criminal charges against Strickland. His release makes his incarceration the longest illegal detention in Missouri history and one of the longest in the state, according to The National Registry of Exonerations.

The Midwest Innocence Project created a GoFundMe account * to help Strickland restart his life as he is not eligible for Missouri State assistance.

In Missouri, only those acquitted through DNA testing are entitled to a $ 50 per day after sentencing, according to the Innocence Project. That was not the case for Strickland.

As of early Thursday afternoon, donations to Strickland had peaked at $ 910,000.

The fund was set up over the summer with a goal of raising $ 7,500, which the fund says will amount to about $ 175 dollars for each year that Strickland spent wrongfully convicted.

Thirty-six states and Washington, DC, have laws on the books that offer compensation to freelancers, according to the Innocence Project. The federal standard for compensating those wrongfully convicted is a minimum of $ 50,000 per year. years of imprisonment, plus an additional amount for each year spent on the death row.

Adapting to a new world

Strickland said he heard about his release through a news report that interrupted the soap opera he saw Tuesday.

The first thing he did after his release was to visit his mother’s grave.

“Knowing that my mother was under that dirt and I had not had the opportunity to visit her in recent years … I saw the tears that I did when they told me I was guilty of a crime I had not committed, “Strickland told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Wednesday.

His first night out of jail was a restless one, where thoughts of returning to jail, among other things, kept him awake, he said Wednesday.

“I’m used to living in a tight, enclosed cell where I know exactly what’s going on in there with me,” he said. “And when you’re home and you hear the squeak of the home settling down and the electrical wires and whatever else … I was a little scared. I thought someone was coming to pick me up.”

Convicted as a teenager, acquitted as an adult

Four people were shot dead in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 25, 1978, resulting in three deaths, according to CNN affiliate KSHB. The only survivor of the crime, Cynthia Douglas, who died in 2015, testified in 1978 that Strickland was at the scene of the triple murder.

Douglas sustained a shotgun injury and then told police that Vincent Bell and Kiln Adkins were two of the perpetrators. But she did not identify Strickland, whom she knew as being on the scene, until a day later, according to KSHB, after it was suggested to her that Strickland’s hair matched Douglas’ description of the shooter. Douglas claimed that her first lack of identification of him was due to the use of cognac and marijuana, according to KSHB.

But for the past 30 years, she has said she made a mistake and misidentified Strickland. According to KSHB, Douglas made an effort to liberate Strickland through the Midwest Innocence Project.

The two assailants she identified at the scene both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and each ended up serving about 10 years in prison for the crimes, according to Strickland’s attorney, Robert Hoffman.


* KSL.com does not guarantee that the money deposited in the account will be used for the benefit of the persons listed as beneficiaries. If you are considering depositing into the account, you should consult with your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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