American Kevin Strickland has been acquitted more than 43 years after he was wrongly sentenced to life imprisonment. “I still don’t believe it, ” he said in an interview after his release.
I have some ideas to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Kevin Strickland
Strickland’s conviction came in 1979 for the triple murder of three twenty-somethings that took place the year before. He was found guilty by an all-white jury and sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 50 years. All while there was no physical evidence linking Strickland to the crime scene. His alibi was also watertight and even the actual killers, who confessed in 1979, indicated that Strickland had nothing to do with it.
However, there was one person who survived the massacre, Cynthia Douglas. He indicated that she had ‘seen’ Strickland. That same Douglas tried to withdraw her testimony several times because she was allegedly pressured by the police.
After all those years of Strickland trying to prove his innocence, the hell he’s been living in all this time finally came to an end yesterday. “The confidence of the Court has been so undermined that the conviction cannot stand. Therefore, the verdict must be quashed,” concluded judge James Welsh.
Strickland was in his cell enjoying a soap opera when it was suddenly interrupted due to ‘breaking news. Completely surprised, Strickland learned that he had been acquitted. “I saw my photo and name and other inmates started cheering,” he says. “I want to thank the judge for listening to my story and understanding what really happened in 1978. I was an easy target and the police took advantage of that.”
Since the state of Missouri will only compensate prisoners financially if they can prove their innocence through a DNA test, Strickland can forget about compensation. “No one will give him back the 43 years he lost. He will return to a state that won’t pay him a cent for those stolen years. That’s not justice,” said attorneys for the Midwest Innocence Project, who spent months working on Strickland’s case. .
When asked what he will do after his release, Strickland replied that he would like to see the sea for the first time in his life and visit his mother’s grave. He also indicates that he would like to discuss the legal system with legislators. “I have some ideas to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
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