KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Donations being made to help a man who was released from prison in Missouri after a judge found that he was wrongfully convicted in 1979 In the triple murder case.
The GoFundMe fundraiser to benefit Kevin Strickland had exceeded its $430,000 goal by Wednesday afternoon, and donations kept pouring in. As of Thursday evening, it had raised more than $950,000.
Several donors expressed outrage that the 62-year-old would not receive compensation from Missouri. The state only allows wrongful imprisonment payments to people acquitted through DNA evidence, so Strickland does not qualify.
Strickland has always said that he was watching TV at home and nothing to do with the murders, which happened when he was 18 years old.
Judge James Welsh, a retired Missouri Court of Appeals judge, ordered his release on Tuesday, finding that the evidence used to convict Strickland had since been removed or disproved.
The Midwest Innocence Project set up an online fundraiser in June as they fought for its release. He said he needed help to pay for basic living expenses.
Organizers praised the donors on Tuesday, writing that “all funds go directly to Mr. Strickland, to whom the state of Missouri did not pay a penny for the 43 years he stole from him.”
As soon as he got out of prison, Strickland said, “I can’t begin to say all the things I’m grateful for.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas said that on Friday, Strickland would flip the switch to light the mayor’s Christmas tree in Kansas City, Mo.