Wrongfully convicted for a double homicide that he did not commit, an innocent Kansas man served 23 years in prison before his eventual release. The State Attorney General recently announced that the man’s criminal record would be expunged in addition to awarding him $1.5 million in compensation.
In 1994, Lamonte McIntyre, 17, was arrested for the murders of 21-year-old Doniel Quinn and 34-year-old Donald Ewing despite a lack of physical evidence or motive. The prosecutor in McIntyre’s case has reportedly been accused of intimidating witnesses and having an undisclosed sexual relationship with the presiding judge at the time.
In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in February 2018, McIntyre recalled, “Walking through the prison gates as a teenager was the most terrifying thing in the world. Two days after I got there other inmates attacked me. At such a young age I was vulnerable and every day was a fight just to stay alive. For the first few years, I would wake up and wonder what kind of violence I would encounter and how I was going to survive. I rarely slept. I never had peace. My family lived four hours away from the prison I was first sent to. Despite this distance, mom would come to visit once a month and I would call her, but I couldn’t bear to tell her what I had to go through every day.”
McIntyre gave credit to Midwest Project Innocence, Centurion Ministries, and his attorneys for having his case dismissed and setting him free in October 2017. Last year, he filed a lawsuit against the state for mistakenly convicting him.
On Monday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a press release announcing that McIntyre would receive $1,553,379.45 in compensation, a Certificate of Innocence, counseling, and the expunging of his criminal records related to the double homicide. He was also granted a waiver of tuition and required fees for attendance at a postsecondary educational institution for up to 130 credit hours.
“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,” Schmidt said in a recent statement. “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.”
“Today, Lamonte McIntyre has been declared, finally and conclusively, a completely innocent man,” his attorney, Cheryl Pilate said in an emailed statement. “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.”
According to Schmidt, five other people have filed claims for compensation pursuant to the new wrongful conviction statute. The State previously agreed to pay $1.1 million to Richard Jones in a robbery case arising from Johnson County and $1.03 million to Floyd Bledsoe in a rape and murder case arising from Jefferson County. Three other cases, two arising from Sedgwick County and one from Clay County, remain pending in various stages of litigation.
McIntyre’s lawyer recently stated that the family’s separate federal lawsuit against the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas, and the individual officers involved in his arrest will continue to move forward.