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Kevin Strickland granted evidentiary hearing in DeKalb County

Kevin Strickland
Posted at 1:34 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 14:34:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kevin Strickland, the man some say was wrongfully convicted in a triple murder 43 years ago, has been granted a new hearing in DeKalb County.

Strickland is set for an evidentiary hearing on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13.

In May, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker joined calls for his release, saying they got it wrong in 1978.

Strickland has always maintained his innocence.

A few months after his conviction, a co-defendant described the crime in great detail — including the names of three other suspects, none of whom were Strickland.

Strickland's conviction ultimately rested on one witness testimony.

Cynthia Douglas survived the incident that night in 1978 and identified Strickland as a suspect only after another person suggested he might be involved.

Later, she wished to recant her statement. She has since passed away.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is not likely to grant Strickland a pardon.

"It's pretty easy on the outside to say 'Hey, he's innocent,'" Parson told 41 Action News last month. "I don't know whether he’s innocent or not. I don’t. Other than the facts I read, and then you have to determine 'Yes, this is something we should look at.' We did, in great lengths."

He did, however, say Strickland may have hope through legislation set to be signed Wednesday.

"The other thing we also realize is there’s legislation coming that's going to affect that case," Parson said. "And we're going to more than likely sign that into law. I won’t say that for sure because I’m always hesitant until it goes through the process."

Through Missouri Senate Bill 53, if signed into law, Peters Baker could file on Strickland's behalf.

Strickland's new hearing is unrelated to the potential passage of SB 53.

Some opponents have come out strongly against Strickland's release.

Monday, the Missouri Attorney General's office said it remains confident that Strickland is guilty.

Strickland is being held at the Western Missouri Correction Center in Cameron.