62-year-old Missouri man who has spent 43 years in prison in still behind bars even though prosecutors say he was wrongly convicted for 3 murders

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  • A Missouri prosecutor's office has said a 62-year-old man was wrongly convicted of killing three people.

  • Kevin Strickland has spent the last 43 years in prison for three 1978 murders in Kansas City.

  • The key witness in the case who was the sole survivor of the attack has recanted her testimony.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A 62-year-old man from Missouri has spent the last 43 years in prison for three murders a local prosecutor and the key witness in the case say he didn't commit.

According to a report from ABC News, Kevin Strickland was in 1979 convicted of three Kansas City murders that took place the year prior. The three murders occurred just two miles from Strickland's home in Kansas City, according to the report.

Strickland, who was 18 years old when the three people were gunned down, has maintained that he was at home watching television and talking on the phone with his girlfriend at the time of the murders, according to the report.

At the time, Jackson County Prosecutors said they found Strickland's fingerprints on another suspect's car, but Strickland said he had known him since childhood and had previously driven his vehicle.

Cynthia Douglas, the sole surviving victim in the case, had identified Strickland in a lineup, according to the report.

The same Jackson County Prosecutor's office that tried Strickland now believes he is "factually innocent" of the murders, according to the Kansas City Star report.

"I'm here advocating for Mr. Strickland's freedom and his conviction should be vacated," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said last month. "Most importantly, though, I am advocating that this man must be freed immediately."

In sworn statements, two other men, Vincent Bell and Kilm Adkins, admitted to the murders and cleared Strickland of involvement, according to ABC News. A third suspect who never faced charges in 2019 also claimed Strickland was innocent, the Kansas City Star reported.

Strickland's first trial resulted in a hung jury, according to the Kansas City Star. The lone Black juror on the case was the only holdout, the report said. Strickland was later convicted by an all-white jury.

Douglas, the sole survivor of the attacks and the key witness in the original trial, has since recanted her story. In 2009, Douglas contacted the Midwest Innocence Project and said she believed Strickland had been "wrongly charged," according to the Kansas City Star.

Calls to free Strickland have grown since the Midwest Innocence Project took on his case three years ago, according to ABC News. More than a dozen bipartisan state lawmakers have recently called on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, to pardon Strickland.

But Strickland remains in prison.

Parson at the end of May issued a list of 36 pardons, but Strickland was not among them, the Kansas City Star reported. Parson, meanwhile, has said that Strickland's case is not a "priority."

"When something like that comes up, we look at those cases, but I don't know that that necessarily makes it a priority to jump in front of the line," Parson said on Monday, according to the Kansas City Star. "We understand some cases are going to draw more attention through the media than others, but we're just going to look at those things."

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