A judge on Tuesday granted Jackson County prosecutors’ motion to exonerate Kevin Strickland in a 1978 triple murder and ordered his immediate release, confirming that Strickland suffered one of the longest wrongful convictions in U.S. history.
Judge James Welsh, a retired appeals court judge, granted the motion filed by Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker — the first of its kind under a new Missouri law — that sought to exonerate Strickland, now 62.
Since he was sentenced to prison in June 1979, Strickland has spent more than 42 years and 4 months behind bars — or 15,487 days.
It means Strickland, who was 18 when he was arrested, endured the seventh longest wrongful imprisonment acknowledged in American history, and the longest in Missouri by more than a decade, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, which has logged 2,891 exonerations since 1989. Strickland will soon be listed among 12 exonerees who survived 40 years or more of prison.
“There’s no giving those 43 years back to me,” Strickland previously told The Star. “I lost my life.”
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