Story at a glance

  • Lamonte McIntyre was deemed wrongfully convicted of the deaths of two men in 1994.
  • Under a new state law, McIntyre will receive compensation for the years of wages he was unable to earn behind bars.

Lamonte McIntyre spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he did not commit. He will now receive $1.5 million from the state of Kansas as part of a legal settlement, Kansas State Attorney General’s office announced Monday

McIntyre was 17 years old when he was wrongfully convicted for the 1994 murders of Donald Ewing and Doniel Quinn. He received a life sentence and served 8,583 days in prison before his exoneration in October 2017. 

Quinn, who was 21 years old at the time of his murder, and Ewing, who was 34, both died when someone with a shotgun opened fire on a car on April 15, 1994, according to a Detroit news outlet. McIntyre was arrested after a witness identified him despite a lack of physical evidence and recanted witness statements. 

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McIntyre filed a lawsuit against the state last year with the help of the Midwest Innocence Project and Centurion Ministries, an organization that works to vindicate those who are wrongfully convicted. The suit was filed under a mistaken-conviction statute that passed in Kansas in 2018. This is the third lawsuit to be resolved under this statute. 

In a press release, the Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said that a Kansas court confirmed McIntyre was not responsible for the crime for which he was convicted, and that he was not an accessory to the murders. Further, McIntyre did not fabricate evidence or commit perjury. 

“We are committed to faithfully administering the state’s mistaken-conviction law as the legislature wrote it,” Schmidt said. “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. We were ultimately able to resolve all issues, satisfy all of the statute’s requirements, and agree to this outcome so Mr. McIntyre can receive the benefits to which he is entitled by law because of his mistaken conviction.”

Lawyers for McIntyre and Schmidt reached this agreement in March 2019.

Other conditions of the settlement will give McIntyre a Certificate of Innocence, destruction of files containing his arrest and DNA profile, counseling, access to state health care benefits and a waiver of tuition and other fees if he elected to attend a postsecondary educational institution for 130 credit hours. 

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McIntyre was in prison from the time he was just 17 when he was arrested until the age of 41. He described “terrifying” prison conditions, being assaulted and rarely sleeping. 

During his incarceration, McIntyre finished his high school degree. He now has plans to open a barber shop. He believes the compensation law that granted him the million-dollar settlement can help him achieve a normal life.

McIntyre testified in support of the mistaken-conviction law in 2018 in front of the Kansas State’s Senate Judiciary Committee, according to CNN.

“The state of Kansas took away 23 years of my life and has given me nothing to rebuild. The state took away my youth,” McIntyre said in his testimony, regarding the passage of the law that would compensate him for a lifetime behind bars.

“But it can pass this compensation law so I can start my path to a successful future. This law would provide a fair amount of money for each year that I lost in prison,” McIntyre added. “It would help me get the resources I need to heal from my wrongful conviction. We have much work to do to make our system more just so what happened to me doesn’t happen to another innocent person. But we can start here.”

 

Published on Feb 26, 2020