A veteran Missouri lawmaker who chairs the House Corrections and Public Institutions Committee is calling on Governor Parson to grant an immediate release to an inmate who prosecutors say was wrongly convicted of murder 40 years ago.
State Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R-Deering) tweeted that the first time he heard about Kevin Strickland’s case was Thursday night, on the news. Chairman McDaniel, a former Pemiscot County deputy sheriff, will send a letter to the governor, and lawmakers in both parties plan to sign it.
The “Kansas City Star” reports Jackson County prosecutors, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and others have called for Strickland’s exoneration and release. They say Strickland has spent four decades in prison for a triple murder he did not commit. The murders happened in Kansas City in 1978.
The newspaper also reports that Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says that if all else fails, she will file a motion on August 28 in northwest Missouri’s DeKalb County, asking a judge to order Strickland’s release.
Strickland is incarcerated at the Western Missouri Correctional Center (WMCC) in Cameron, which is in DeKalb County. He’s serving a life sentence without parole for 50 years, for capital murder. Capital murder is an old statute that hasn’t been used in Missouri for years. Strickland has also been serving time for second degree murder, in the case.
The Missouri Department of Corrections’ (DOC) website says Strickland will turn 62 on Monday.
A comprehensive law enforcement bill is on the governor’s desk, which includes a provision when prosecutors believe a prisoner is innocent. If Governor Parson signs the bipartisan bill, it would take effect on August 28.
“If Mr. Strickland remains incarcerated, on August 28 at 9 am, I will file my own motion with a court in my jurisdiction to free him. I pray that action is not needed but I stand ready to act. Of course, I need the Governor to sign the legislation fully authorizing me to take that action. Mr. Strickland deserves actors who will fight for him,” Prosecutor Peters Baker tells Missourinet.
The Missouri Supreme Court has declined to hear Strickland’s case.
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