Missouri prisoner Kevin Strickland, wrongly convicted of triple homicide, left the jail on Tuesday penniless.
However, Americans helped his re-entry into society by helping him amassing $1.3 million in less than a week through an online fundraiser. He served 43 years in Missouri prison for a crime he never committed.
Strickland’s lawyer thanked Americans for their contributions to the fundraiser
Tricia Rojo Bushnell, one of Strickland’s lawyers, alongside Midwest Innocence Project’s executive director, organized an online fundraiser to help Strickland gain ground in society after getting released from prison.
Bushnell noted while she always raises funds for her clients, the overwhelming response in the case of Strickland surprised her as well. Likewise, she noted the approach of civil society to fix the broken system through their contributions is amazing.
Strickland’s lawyer said he was exonerated without DNA evidence. This made him ineligible to get compensated by the state, even though he wrongly spent four decades in prison.
“The state of Missouri isn’t going to pay Kevin Strickland, but you know, strangers from all around the world are” Under Missouri’s compensation law, only prisoners who prove their innocence through a specific DNA testing statute are eligible for payments.https://t.co/CRFIEH1K9Z
— Lindsay French (@lfrench) November 28, 2021
The lawyer also asserted although Strickland does not have a bank account or government identification yet, he will receive the donations in their entirety as soon as he manages to open an account.
Not only this, but the Midwest Innocence Project will also assign him a financial adviser. This adviser will help Strickland channel the funds into a proper direction, assisting him in using them, as per his wish.
Bushnell also appreciated the supportive comments of Americans, noting Strickland would see himself this support is not only monetary, but emotional as well.
Kevin Strickland was convicted for a crime he did not commit
In 1979, Kevin Strickland was found guilty of murdering three people in Kansas City. Despite the fact the other two men who pleaded guilty said Strickland had no role in the whole episode, the only eyewitness of the incident identified Strickland as a killer, resulting in his wrongful conviction.
Recently, the Missouri legislature passed a law allowing prosecutors to look into wrongful convictions. This encouraged the prosecutor of Jackson County, Jean Peters Baker, to file a motion for Strickland.
Strickland said he wanted to build a small house out of Missouri and make a small fishing pond outside his house that could help him to have some time alone. Likewise, he also noted Americans did not owe him money, but he was thankful for every single cent contributed.
Help Kevin Strickland After Wrongful Conviction https://t.co/oIkJ7vqxAF
— Maxy Copeland (@MaxyCopeland) November 28, 2021
After being released, Strickland told CNN he was in disbelief, thinking this day would never come in his life. While he also indicated he would want an apology for his conviction, he noted he is not dwelling on this at all.
Almost 23,000 people contributed to the fundraiser. They aimed to collect a meager amount of $7,500, but ended up getting more than $1.3 million, as of Saturday.