*A Missouri man who has been imprisoned for four decades for a triple murder that he may not have committed could be released thanks to the efforts of one relentless prosecutor.
As reported by Black Enterprise, Kevin Strickland recently got to testify at a three-day hearing that could lead to his release after 43 years in prison.
Here’s more from the report:
Strickland, 62, was convicted on one count of capital murder and two counts of second-degree murder when four people were shot in Kansas City in 1978. The only person who survived, Cynthia Douglas, who died in 2015, testified Strickland was at the scene. Strickland has been an inmate at the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri, but never changed his story of innocence. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker agrees.
We previously reported, Cynthia’s family said in an affidavit that Douglas told everyone “the detectives told her what to say.”
Per The Associated Press Baker filed a motion in August asking a judge to exonerate Strickland, as he and many others believe the man is innocent.
“I wasn’t about to plead guilty to a crime I had absolutely nothing to do with,” Strickland said during Monday’s evidentiary hearing, according to CNN. “Wasn’t going to do it…at 18 years old, and I knew the system worked, so I knew that I would be vindicated, I wouldn’t be found guilty of a crime I did not commit. I would not take a plea deal and admit to something I did not do.”
The three-day hearing concluded Wednesday, and the judge is expected to make a decision soon.
Baker’s motion stems from a law that allows local prosecutors to ask judges to exonerate prisoners deemed innocent.
“Most of us have heard the famous quotation that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” Baker said in a written statement. “Kevin Strickland stands as our own example of what happens when a system set to be just, just gets it terribly wrong.”