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story.lead_photo.caption Kevin Strickland, 62, managed a smile while talking to the media after his release from prison, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in Cameron, Mo. Strickland, who was jailed for more than 40 years for three murders, was released from prison Tuesday after a judge ruled that he was wrongfully convicted in 1979. (Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star via AP)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donations are pouring in to help a man who was freed from a Missouri prison after a judge found that he was wrongfully convicted in 1979 in a triple killing.

The GoFundMe fundraiser to benefit Kevin Strickland had surpassed its $430,000 goal by Wednesday afternoon, and donations kept coming.

Many of the donors expressed outrage that the 62-year-old wouldn't receive compensation from Missouri. The state only allows wrongful imprisonment payments to people exonerated through DNA evidence, so Strickland doesn't qualify.

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.

Judge James Welsh, a retired Missouri Court of Appeals judge, ordered his release Tuesday, finding that evidence used to convict Strickland had since been recanted or disproven.

The Midwest Innocence Project set up the online fundraiser in June as they fought for his release. They said he needed help paying for basic living expenses.

Organizers praised donors Tuesday, writing that "All funds go directly to Mr. Strickland, who the state of Missouri won't provide a dime to for the 43 years they stole from him."

As he left prison, Strickland said, "I can't begin to say all the things I am thankful for."

 

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