Lamonte McIntyre of Kansas City, Kansas spent 23 years behind bars for a double murder he didn’t commit. With life expectancy for the American male according to a 2017 study at 76.1 years (and for the American Black male it’s less when compared to the American White male), McIntyre spent over 30% of the best years of his lift in among the worst possible situations and will only receive compensation in the amount of $1.5 million.
Shawnee County District Judge Teresa L. Watson also granted McIntyre with a certificate of innocence as part of a resolution of the mistaken-conviction statute. Some people may wonder what is the significance of a certificate of innocence however this document will later provide a legal basis for anything related to McIntyre’s faulty conviction. The mistaken-conviction statute was passed in 2018 and allows persons who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned to seek monetary damages from the state.
McIntyre was 17-years-old in 1994 when he was apprehended for the killings of 21-year-old Doniel Quinn and 34-year-old Donald Ewing, even though no physical evidence nor motive linked him to the murders. McIntyre was hit with two life sentences for their deaths. In 2017, a Kansas City-based prosecutor asked the court to vacate McIntyre’s convictions and to drop all charges, calling his case an example of “manifest injustice.”
In an emailed statement to local news outlet KCTV, McIntryre’s attorney Cheryl Pilate states, “Today, Lamonte McIntyre has been declared, finally and conclusively, a completely innocent man,…That long-overdue recognition, along with the statutory payment and other benefits, will help lighten a bit the heavy load he has carried. Lamonte is grateful for the benefits of the compensation statute, but he knows his fight for justice is far from over.”
Documents made available to the public during the course of an 8-year effort to exonerate Lamonte McIntyre allege the homicide detective on the case abused his power as a law enforcement to prey for decades 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, which essentially amounts to a conflict-of-interest.
In addition to $1.5 million, McIntyre was awarded access to the state health care benefits program for two years, counseling and a tuition wavier for post-secondary education. Records of his conviction, arrest and any DNA profile record information were ordered to be expunged.