A Missouri judge ordered the release of Kevin Strickland, who has spent 43 years in prison, finding that the African-American was wrongly convicted of a triple murder in 1978.
After spending 43 years in prison by mistake Kevin Strickland has been released from prison
In his decision, Judge James Welsh concluded that there was “no physical evidence directly implicating Strickland” in the murder of Sherrie Black, Larry Ingram and John Walker in Kansas City, Missouri.
“Strickland was convicted solely on the testimony of a witness (C. D.) who later disavowed her statements identifying him as one of the four perpetrators” of the crime, Welsh argued in his ruling.
As a result, the judge called for “the immediate release” of Strickland, 62.
The man was convicted in 1979 by an all-white jury and sentenced to life in prison without bail for 50 years.
Strickland was tried twice: the first trial was declared a mistrial, as the jury was unable to agree on a verdict, and in the second trial he was found guilty.
Over the years, efforts to review this case in search of an exoneration of Strickland have multiplied, culminating in a hearing this month in which incriminating evidence was examined and his defense presented other evidence exonerating him.
Strickland is the longest wrongfully imprisoned inmate in the state of Missouri and one of the longest wrongfully imprisoned in U.S. history.
In 2009, the same witness who accused him of involvement in the crime, and who later recanted, attempted to launch a lawsuit to free him.