Going to jail for a crime you didn’t commit has to be one of the worse things that could happen to a human being.
A Kansas man, Lamonte McIntyre spent 23 years behind bars for a double homicide he didn’t commit but was awarded $1.5 million earlier this week.
When Lamonte was 17, he was convicted and sentenced for the 1994 murders of Donald Ewing and Doniel Quinn. No physical evidence linked Lamonte to the crime, however, Lamonte received two life sentences.
There was an 8-year effort to get Lamonte exonerated. It’s alleged that the homicide detective on the case abused his power and “preyed on African-American women, including McIntyre’s mother. They also accuse the prosecutor of intimidating witnesses who told her McIntyre was not the killer. And they say the presiding judge had a romantic relationship with the prosecutor before the trial that neither disclosed at the time,” reported on CNN.
Lamonte was exonerated in October 2017 after a local prosecutor asked a judge to drop his charges after calling the case an example of “manifest injustice.”
Last year Lamonte filed a lawsuit against the state of Kansas under their mistaken-conviction statute, which was passed in 2018. The law helps people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned to seek monetary damages from the state. On Monday, Feb. 24, Lamonte was awarded $1.5 million. He was also given free health care for two years and a tuition waiver for post-secondary education. Records of his conviction were expunged.
In a testimony, Lamonte said, “The state of Kansas can’t give me back the 23 years it took from me, but it can pass this compensation law so I can start my path to a successful future.”
Lamonte is giving back to society by helping those who have similar stories by co-founding a nonprofit, Miracle of Innocence. He’s also the co-owner and student instructor at Headlines Barber Academy in Kansas City.
Lamtone said that he’s not angry, just frustrated that this happened and is still happening.