A Tennessee man continues his fight for compensation after spending 31 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Lawrence McKinney, 61, of Memphis, Tennessee, was convicted of rape and burglary in 1978 and was sentenced to prison for 115 years. After DNA evidence proved he was innocent of the crimes, he was finally released in 2009, reported NY Daily News.
After his release, McKinney was issued $75, and he could be eligible for up to $1 million in compensation. The problem is the Tennessee Parole Board has to agree to his exoneration, and they continue to deny it.
“I don’t have no life, all my life was taken away,” he told CBS News.
McKinney’s lawyer, Jack Lowery believes McKinney should receive compensation for having his life taken away and being wrongfully imprisoned for decades.
“It is not justice for him not to receive compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned,” Lowery said.
After 2 denials from the TPB, Gov. Bill Haslam had to make the decision on whether or not to exonerate the innocent man.
In December 2017, Haslam chose to exonerate McKinney and expunged his criminal record, reported The Tennessean.
McKinney was frustrated while waiting for the executive exoneration from the governor, bot now he is able to file for compensation with the Tennessee Board of Claims.
“I never doubted it because God is in control,” McKinney said, “You can’t be surprised when you serve the Lord.”
“Though the facts of this case are complex and reasonable minds may draw different conclusions from them, ultimately I respect the determinations of the Shelby County Criminal Court and District Attorney General that Mr. McKinney was not guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted and would not have been prosecuted if the DNA testing results had been available at the time of trial,” Haslam said in a statement.
“In the eyes of the judicial system, Mr. McKinney is innocent. While I appreciate the hard work and recommendations of the Board of Parole, in this case I defer to the finding of the court charged with determining Mr. McKinney’s guilt or innocence.”
Now McKinney will continue to test his patience as he waits on a possible settlement from his wrongful imprisonment that began in 1978.