After having served 43 years in prison, Kevin Strickland was exonerated on November 23 and became a millionaire after receiving thousands of donations in the past year.
The fundraiser’s message read, “For more than 41 years, Kevin Strickland has been incarcerated for a crime he did not commit! The State of Missouri has robbed him of his youth, health, and much of his life’s potential. He has largely lost the use of his legs and now uses a wheelchair. All for a crime he did not commit. All while the real perpetrators—to the extent they were prosecuted by the State—have long since been freed. All while there is overwhelming evidence of his innocence.”
In 1979, Strickland was convicted of one count of capital murder and two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for 50 years, as well as two concurrent 10-year-sentences for the murders of Sherrie Black, Larry Ingram, and John Walker.
After he was exonerated on Tuesday, Judge James Welsh, of Missouri’s Western District Court of Appeals, said that Strickland had been convicted without any physical evidence connecting him to the crime scene, even though another man convicted in the killings said Strickland wasn’t part of it and that the only eye eyewitness had eventually tried to recant her testimony.
“By all accounts, Douglas was hysterical at the time, suffering from two gunshot wounds and having just witnessed the execution of three friends,” Judge Welsh wrote in his opinion.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, Strickland has spent longer in prison than anyone in Missouri who was later acquitted.