KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who spent more than 40 years in prison for a triple murder he did not commit alleges in a lawsuit that Kansas City police conducted a reckless investigation that led to his conviction.
Kevin Strickland, 63, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Jackson County Court against the Kansas City Police Board of Commissioners, which oversees the police department, and five officers who have retired.
Strickland alleges that officers attributed false statements to him during the investigation and pressured the only eyewitness to the murders to identify him as the killer, The Kansas City Star reported.
The Kansas City Police Department said it does not comment on pending lawsuits.
Strickland was released from prison in November 2021 after a judge ruled he was wrongfully convicted of killing three people in Kansas City in 1978. That decision followed a hearing held after Jackson County prosecutors said a review of the case led them to believe Strickland was innocent.
Strickland has always maintained that he was home watching television and had nothing to do with the killings, which happened when he was 18 years old.
The lawsuit contends detectives pressured the only eyewitness to the triple murder to name Strickland as the shooter, even though they “knew or should have known” that he was innocent. The prosecution’s case against Strickland rested largely on the eyewitness’ testimony.
After Strickland refused to confess to the killings, the detectives concocted inflammatory statements they attributed to him about loving to “kill people,” according to his lawsuit.
Two men later confessed to being involved in the killings and swore for decades that Strickland was not at the home where the victims were slain.