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After 23 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment, Not One Dime

Lamonte McIntyre after his release from prison. (KMBC News)

How much are 23 years of a person’s life worth? Nothing, if those years were spent in a Kansas prison after a wrongful conviction.

Last October, Lamonte McIntyre was set free after he was exonerated of the double murder for which he was convicted in 1994. But the 41-year-old entered the outside world penniless. There was absolutely no help from authorities: Kansas and 17 other states give wrongfully convicted prisoners no compensation when they are released.

CBS News reported Saturday:

Tricia Bushnell of the Innocence Project worked to win McIntyre’s release. She said McIntyre has other reasons to be angry [besides his wrongful imprisonment]. She called this case the “perfect storm.”

For example, at his trial in 1994 when he was [18], there was no physical evidence or motive presented. Worse, according to McIntyre’s current lawyers, lead police detective Roger Golubski built the case by threatening witnesses. Bushnell said the fallout may impact other potential exonerations.

She said there are about a dozen people behind bars whose cases are connected to detective Golubski.

The four-day trial of McIntyre, who was given two life sentences, occurred after he turned 18, which allowed the state to try him as an adult.

According to a 2017 report in the Kansas City Star, McIntyre was arrested on the word of a witness who said the killer looked vaguely like someone she knew named Lamonte. The alibis provided for him by family members did not help.

The prosecutor offered no evidence that McIntyre even knew the victims, who, it was speculated, were killed because of involvement with illegal drugs.

The key witness against McIntyre later recanted her testimony, saying she had been coerced into accusing him by the lead detective in the case, Golubski.

Another controversy generated by the case involved the then-assistant prosecutor, Terra Morehead. Morehead had an undisclosed romantic relationship with Wyandotte County District Judge J. Dexter Burdette, who presided over the trial.

Despite the raw deals he received, Lamonte McIntyre is doing what he can to move on. He is studying to be a barber. “I want to spend the rest of my life being happy,” he was quoted as saying in the CBS News report. “I don’t want to be bitter. That’s taking away from me. I don’t have any more time to give.”

Donald Kaufman
Correspondent
Donald Kaufman began contributing to Truthdig in 2013. He has reported from many locations, including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and North Dakota, where he covered the confrontations over the Dakota Access…
Donald Kaufman

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