Missouri is not offering Kevin Strickland any compensation for the 43 years he spent in prison on a wrongful conviction, discharging him from prison with essentially nothing to his name. A Missouri judge overturned his 1979 conviction for a triple homicide on Tuesday. Retired Missouri Judge James Welsh ordered the 62-year-old, who spent 43 years in prison, be immediately released.
In Missouri, only those exonerated through DNA testing are eligible for a $50 per day of post-conviction confinement, according to the Innocence Project. That was not the case for Strickland. The Midwest Innocence Project created a Go Fund Me to help Strickland restart his life, since he doesn’t qualify for help from the state of Missouri. As of Thursday evening, donations for Strickland had topped $1 million.
Thirty-six states and Washington, DC, have laws on the books that offer compensation for exonerees, according to the Innocence Project. The federal standard to compensate those who are wrongfully convicted is a minimum of $50,000 per year of incarceration, plus an additional amount for each year spent on death row. Strickland said he learned of his release through a breaking news report that interrupted the soap opera he was watching Tuesday. The first thing he did after his release was visit his mother’s grave.