Donations pour in for Missouri man freed after 43 years

Kevin Strickland, 62, wrongly convicted of murder at 19, judge says

FILE - Kevin Strickland answers questions during an evidentiary hearing regarding his innocence on, Nov. 8, 2021 in Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City, Mo. Strickland, who has been jailed for more than 40 years for three murders, was wrongfully convicted in 1979 and will be released, a Missouri judge ruled Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – More than $1.4 million had been raised as of Saturday for a man who spent 43 years behind bars before a judge overturned his conviction in a triple killing.

The Midwest Innocence Project set up the GoFundMe fundraiser as they fought for Kevin Strickland's release, noting that he wouldn’t receive compensation from Missouri and would need help paying for basic living expenses. The state only allows wrongful imprisonment payments to people who were exonerated through DNA evidence, so the 62-year-old Strickland wouldn’t qualify.

Judge James Welsh, a retired Missouri Court of Appeals judge, ordered his release on Tuesday, finding that evidence used to convict Strickland had since been recanted or disproven. By Saturday evening, more than $1.45 million had been donated to help Strickland.

Strickland has always maintained that he was home watching television and had nothing to do with the killings, which happened in 1978 when he was 18 years old.

As he left prison, he said he was “thankful for God walking me through this for 43 years."