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“I’m not even angry” – This man was innocent in prison for 43 years

The white jury was certain: Kevin Strickland was the culprit. He had handcuffed and shot his victims in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. The verdict for the triple murder had to be “life sentence”. And so they condemned the 18-year-old Strickland based on the testimony of an eyewitness. Thus began in 1979 the story of a decade-long miscarriage of justice.

Today Kevin Strickland is 62 years old – and has seen little more in his life than his cell and the prison walls of the Western Missouri Correctional Center. Since Tuesday (local time) it has been officially confirmed what Strickland knew during all this time: He is innocent. He was behind bars for 43 years for acts he did not commit.

Strickland said he learned of the overturning of the sentence from a televised news bulletin while watching a soap offering. Prison inmates burst into jubilation at that moment.

A judge ordered his immediate release on the grounds that the guilty verdict at the time was untenable because the eyewitness – the only survivor of the crime – later withdrew her testimony. She had previously identified Strickland as one of the four perpetrators.

Incredible: Two other men convicted of triple murder also testified at the time that Strickland was not involved – and named two other men. There was no evidence whatsoever linking Strickland to the murders – and he had an alibi for the time of the crime: for years he maintained that he had been at home and watched TV at the time of the crime.

Most recently, the responsible public prosecutor came to the conclusion that Strickland is innocent – and welcomed the reversal of the judgment on Tuesday.

“To say that you are extremely pleased and grateful would be an understatement,” said prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “This finally brings justice to a man who has tragically suffered for so long because of false convictions.”

Strickland himself left the prison smiling, but with mixed feelings. He told reporters, “I’m not angry at all. It is quite a lot. I think I’m going through emotions that you all don’t know about. Joy, sadness, fear. I’m still in the process of getting it all together. “

Strickland now wants to help ensure that “something like this doesn’t happen to anyone anymore”. The judicial system must be completely overhauled, he said.

The Midwest Innocence Project, founded by the Law Faculty of the University of Missouri in Kansas City, had campaigned for Strickland to try to get people wrongly convicted free. According to experts, Strickland is one of the longest-serving inmates in the United States, wrongly convicted and then found innocent.

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