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St. Louis man hoping to be exonerated travels to KCMO to support Midwest Innocence Project

Rodney Lincoln
Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 05, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — People from the Kansas City area like Ricky Kidd and Kevin Strickland have been released or exonerated because of the Midwest Innocence Project.

The organization held their annual "Faces of Innocence" fundraiser on Wednesday to support their work.

Rodney Lincoln is one of their cases that are still a work in progress. He was convicted of a murder in 1982 that he said he did not commit.

Lincoln drove a few hours from St. Louis to share his story.

"I went in at the age of 38," he said. "I told you when I went in, my kids were 16, 14, 13, and 10. I got out at the age of 73, and all four of my children were grandparents."

Lincoln was convicted with a now recanted testimony of a 7-year-old girl and DNA that the Midwest Innocence Project says wasn't his. The organization pushed for his release.

"[They] said you're getting a call from the governor, and my response was, 'What did I do to him?' I couldn't fathom the fact that I might be going home," Lincoln said.

In 2018, Lincoln's sentence was commuted to time served by former Gov. Eric Greitens. He still hopes to be exonerated one day.

Rodney Lincoln
Rodney Lincoln after purchasing his first truck post-release.

"In the eyes of the state, I'm still guilty," he said.

The Midwest Innocence Project said they've been hosting the "Faces of Innocence" fundraiser for at least 15 years.

It helps them educate the public on stories like Lincoln's and continue trying to correct injustice.

"We want innocent people to not be incarcerated," said Marissa Todd, deputy director for the Midwest Innocence Project. "It’s the best feeling to know we’ve been able to correct a horrible injustice in the world."

Lincoln has been back to prison just to watch other people come out. His new passion is advocating for those who were wrongfully convicted.

"I know how I felt when I was inside. There’s a whole lot of people left behind me. No one will listen to their voice because they're just a convict. I'm an ex-convict, and now I can make them listen to my voice," he said.