A Kansas man who spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he didn’t commit was awarded a $1.5 million settlement on Monday, Feb. 24.
In addition to the compensation money, Lamote McIntyre, now 43, also received a certificate of innocence from Shawnee County District Judge Teresa L. Watson.
McIntyre was released from prison in 2017 after a local prosecutor asked the court to vacate his convictions and to drop all charges in connection with the murders of Doniel Quinn, 21, and Donald Ewing, 34, in 1994.
He was 17 years old when he was arrested for the killings of the two men even though no physical evidence or motive tied him to the crimes. He was found guilty based on the testimony of two eyewitnesses.
His case spent eight years under review by attorneys who believed in his innocence. His attorneys accused the prosecutor, Terra Morehead, of intimidating witnesses who had said that McIntyre was not the killer. The gun shell casings from the crime scene in 1994 were never examined for fingerprints, which also could have cleared McIntyre of the crime.
McIntyre’s wrongful conviction prompted a 2018 Kansas law requiring the state to compensate victims found guilty of crimes they did not commit. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced that McIntyre would be granted $65,000 for each of the 23 years he was wrongfully imprisoned.
“We are committed to faithfully administering the state’s mistaken conviction law as the legislature wrote it,” Schmidt said in a statement Monday. “In this case, our office worked diligently to obtain and review all available evidence, including evidence identified but not provided in the earlier judicial proceedings.”
According to The Associated Press, his attorney, Cheryl Pilate, celebrated the payment, saying, “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.”
McIntyre’s family is also suing the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, and the individual officers, for their roles in his conviction.
He was the third man to receive a wrongful termination payment from the state of Kansas, according to the attorney general’s office.