In just four days following his exoneration, a GoFundMe campaign for a Missouri man who had spent his entire life behind bars raised over $1 million over this weekend.
Wrongfully convicted in a triple homicide case at the age of 18 in 1978, Kevin Strickland finally had his name cleared by a judge on Tuesday, Nov 23.
According to CNN, he was given a 50-year life sentence without parole as a survivor gave false testament of his involvement in the case owing to impaired memories.
Strickland has always insisted that he was at home watching television at the time of the bloodshed in Kansas City in 1978.
The survivor later acknowledged her mistake and had tried to free him through the Midwest Innocence Project for three decades. Senior Judge James Welsh scrapped the validity of the evidence against the now 62-year-old man on Tuesday.
Missouri, however, would not grant him compensation for his 43 years of false imprisonment because he was not exonerated with DNA evidence. This rule leaves very few individuals qualified for the money.
“The vast majority of folks who are exonerated are exonerated through non-DNA evidence, and the vast majority of crimes do not involve DNA at all,” said Tricia Rojo Bushnell, Strickland’s attorney and executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, the Washington Post reported.
But the public makes sure Strickland faces hardships no longer. The fundraiser that looks to help Strickland rebuild his life raised more than $1.4 million as of Saturday morning and climbed up to over $1.7 million the following day.
Strickland, now in a wheelchair, said he had had ideas in preventing his situation from being repeated.
“If I can ever get involved with some type of speaking concerning legislation or something, we’d like to get some things changed, I got my ideas,” he told reporters.
According to The National Registry of Exonerations, his false imprisonment was the longest in Missouri history and one of the longest in the country.
When Strickland left the Western Missouri Correctional Center, he said he was “thankful for God walking me through this for 43 years.”
Strickland also wanted to visit two places, the ocean and his mother’s grave, which he has never had a chance to go to because of his lifelong sentence.