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Community helps support Kevin Strickland, who will receive no compensation for wrongful conviction

"He lost almost 43 years of his life and Missouri is essentially saying

By Greg Payne

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    JACKSON COUNTY, Missouri (KCTV) — “He lost almost 43 years of his life and Missouri is essentially saying, ‘OK, here you go… nothing,'” said Tricia Rojo Bushnell, Executive Director of the Midwest Innocence Project and Kevin Strickland’s attorney.

Missouri is one of the few states, that doesn’t provide compensation for someone just because they’ve been wrongfully convicted.

Bushnell said only a small amount of the wrongfully convicted in Missouri receive compensation.

“Someone that was exonerated by DNA — but not just by DNA evidence, but a specific preceding of DNA evidence — and that’s not what happened for Kevin Strickland,” she said.

Forty-three years and not a single dime to his name.

“What is the life that he will have at a time that I think most folks his age are thinking about retirement and he’s trying to think, ‘How do I begin a life I never had?'” said Rojo Bushnell.

To try and help, Tricia and the Missouri Innocence Project, created a GoFundMe page.

Thus far, and in such a short period of time, it has raised nearly half a million dollars.

“Missouri is not going to compensate Kevin Strickland but it looks like the world is,” said Rojo Bushnell.

Just across state lines, Kansas does provide compensation for the wrongfully convicted.

Back in 2018, it was Tricia and her group that made this law possible: Compensation of $65,000 for each year of imprisonment.

In Kevin Strickland’s case, he would have received more than $2 million.

“Money can’t fix what’s broken inside of you, so as much as we talk about compensation — it’s necessary, it’s very very necessary because we are starting out with nothing — but it doesn’t fix the problem,” said Lamonte McIntyre, an exoneree.

McIntyre spent 23 years in prison, convicted of a double murder. It wasn’t until 2017 that his conviction was overturned.

The state of Kansas compensated him $1.5 million.

As he’s still trying to get his life back, he has a message for Strickland who now is in the position he was in nearly four years ago.

“I was chasing time, thinking I lost so much time. So, by thinking that way I stayed out of the moment. I stayed chasing something that I was never going to catch. So, my advice to him would be stay in the moment,” said McIntyre.

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