New law led to Strickland decision
A judge’s decision on Tuesday to release longtime inmate Kevin Strickland, of Kansas City, was made possible by a new Missouri law intended to free people who were imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit.
Strickland, 62, was convicted in 1979 of a triple murder in Kansas City. He always maintained that he wasn’t at the crime scene, and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced in May that her office’s review of case convinced her that Strickland was telling the truth.
After the Missouri Supreme Court in June declined to hear Strickland’s petition for release, Peters Baker used the new state law to seek an evidentiary hearing, which was held in early November. Judge James Welsh ruled Tuesday that Strickland had been wrongfully convicted and ordered him released.
The law, which was a provision of a larger crime bill, gives prosecutors the authority to seek a hearing if they have new evidence that the convicted person might have been wrongfully convicted.