Donations are still pouring in for Kevin Strickland, who was released from a Missouri jail on Tuesday after serving 43 years for a triple murder he says he did not commit. The 63-year-old has collected over $1 million in donations despite the fact that he is not entitled to any compensation from the state due to his unjust incarceration.
Following Strickland’s release, the Midwest Innocence Project established a GoFundMe to assist him “establish himself in a home and provide for his basic needs.” The initial aim was $7,500, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that more than $200,000 was raised mere hours after his release on Tuesday.
Some of the compassionate contributors who left comments on Strickland’s GoFundMe stated they were donating to make amends for how state officials went above and beyond to keep him imprisoned despite evidence pointing to his innocence.
“If a person spends years in prison for a crime they didn’t do, it should be a federal offense against the DA and police,” a donor remarked.
“Missouri’s failure to compensate you has shocked and sickened me. I’m devastated that such a heinous miscarriage of justice occurred. Another donor commented, “The state of Missouri should be ashamed of itself and should MAKE IT RIGHT.” “It almost appears as if MO doesn’t think this black life matters, doesn’t it?” And folks are perplexed as to why we have to emphasize that black lives MATTER.”
According to the page, Strickland isn’t entitled to compensation because “there is no Missouri statute to compensate a person wrongfully convicted of a crime and later found innocent, unless through DNA, which is not the case here.
“I donated because Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is a horrible SOB!” wrote another donor, referring to Gov. Mike Parson. Kevin Strickland should be awarded $1 million for each year he spent behind bars.”
Prosecutors in Jackson County, Tennessee, reportedly requested for Strickland’s immediate release in May 2021, citing he was “factually innocent.” Despite numerous requests, Parson refused to grant him clemency. Eric Schmitt, the Attorney General of Missouri, was also certain that Strickland was guilty and fought to prevent his release.
After being found guilty of one count of capital murder and two charges of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of three persons in 1978, Strickland was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years, according to Face2Face Africa. Despite his conviction, Strickland maintained his innocence.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, Strickland’s 43-year unjust imprisonment is the longest in Missouri history and one of the longest in the United States.
According to KSHB, Strickland was found guilty after being suspected of being part of a shooting incident on April 25, 1978, that resulted in the deaths of three individuals. Cynthia Douglas was the only one of the four victims to survive the shootings, and she testified at the 1978 trial. Strickland was present at the crime scene at the time of the occurrence, according to Douglas.
Despite the fact that Douglas named two perpetrators for their roles in the shootings, she did not name Strickland. Despite the fact that Strickland was a familiar face to her. Douglas, who died in 2015, did, however, recognize Strickland the following day. But only after Strickland’s hair appeared to fit her description of the person who opened fire on them. Douglas reportedly claimed that she was unable to recognize Strickland earlier because she had taken cognac and marijuana, according to KSHB.
Douglas has apparently revealed over the last three decades that she made a mistake and misidentified Strickland. She also assisted in the Midwest Innocence Project’s efforts to have Strickland released.
According to CNN, Strickland’s attorney, Robert Hoffman, claimed the two other suspects mentioned by Douglas – Vincent Bell and Kiln Adkins – spent nearly ten years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the crimes.
The two guys also claimed they were not with Strickland at the time of the shootings in an interview with The Kansas City Star in 2020.