Long resistant, Kansas’ top attorney acknowledges Lamonte McIntyre’s innocence

The Kansas state attorney general acknowledged on Tuesday that Lamonte McIntyre is innocent of the 1994 double murder for which he was wrongly convicted and spent 23 years behind bars.

The decision came more than two years after McIntyre’s conviction was overturned and charges dropped in the midst of a post-conviction hearing that raised extensive evidence of misconduct by the police, prosecutor, defense attorney and trial judge that led to McIntyre’s conviction on charges that he shot to death Doniel Quinn, 21, and Don Ewing, 34,  as they sat in a parked car in a depressed neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas.

The decision entitles McIntyre to compensation from the state for his wrongful imprisonment; a law enacted since McIntyre’s release entitles wrongly convicted prisoners to receive $65,000 per year of imprisonment, which would total $1.5 million for McIntyre. The attorney general also will take steps for McIntyre’s conviction to be expunged.

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“I am just overjoyed,” McIntyre, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, said in a telephone interview. “I feel like I’ve been freed.”

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Pilate

Lamonte McIntyre.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt told the Associated Press on Thursday that the delay in granting McIntyre’s innocence, even after the court hearing ended in his conviction being overturned, was because he was obligated to review evidence beyond what had surfaced at the post-trial hearing.

That evidence was revealed in detail in an Injustice Watch series: The police detective allegedly built his case on the basis of two women who were dubious witnesses, and was accused of sexual relations with one of them; the prosecutor did not act when told by a witness that she had been coerced to falsely accuse McIntyre; and the appointed defense attorneys who represented McIntyre at trial and on appeal, who both later were disbarred for their handling of other cases, failed to properly represent him.

The prosecutor dropped the charges after a whirlwind day-and-a-half of testimony in McIntyre’s hearing, as McIntyre’s post-conviction attorney, Cheryl Pilate, was prepared to call the trial judge to question him about a previous romantic relationship he had with the prosecutor that was not disclosed at trial.

The prosecutor, Wyandotte District Attorney Mark Dupree, said then that he acted to correct a “manifest injustice” based on evidence that the jury never heard that would have raised a reasonable doubt about McIntyre’s guilt, but was making no conclusion about the evidence of misconduct that surfaced.

Pilate on Tuesday issued a statement that “the State of Kansas officially acknowledged what has always been known to Lamonte, his attorneys, his family and others connected with his case – that he innocent.”