TOPEKA – (February 4, 2020) – The attorney general’s office will recommend a Shawnee County court enter judgment in favor of a claim for compensation and other benefits by Lamonte McIntyre who served 23 years in prison for a 1994 double murder in Kansas City, Kansas, that the evidence now available shows he did not commit, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
As in every wrongful conviction case, Schmidt had declined to join in recommending the court enter judgment against the State until all available evidence could be gathered and reviewed by the attorney general’s office. That process was extended in this case because the 2017 proceeding in Wyandotte County District Court that ordered Mr. McIntyre released from prison was ended before all evidence was presented and subjected to testing by examination and cross examination. It therefore was necessary for the State to do more fact-finding after Mr. McIntyre filed his wrongful conviction lawsuit because the attorney general’s office could not rely solely on the record created in the prior judicial proceeding.
“Since Mr. McIntyre filed his lawsuit in Shawnee County last March, we have worked diligently to obtain and review all available evidence, including evidence not provided in the earlier judicial proceedings,” Schmidt said. “We are now able to tell the court we have reviewed all evidence we know to be available, completed our due diligence in evaluating that evidence, and agree that Mr. McIntyre is able to show he has met the statutory requirements for compensation under the new law.”
Schmidt said two developments have enabled him now to recommend judgment in favor of Mr. McIntyre.
First, an ongoing criminal investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation into the 1994 double homicide has confirmed previously available information and discovered additional information that supports Mr. McIntyre’s claim of innocence. Schmidt was most recently updated Thursday, January 30, on the status of the KBI investigation, including information the KBI obtained earlier in the month.
Second, Mr. McIntyre’s counsel in October 2019 formally provided the attorney general’s office with more than 9,100 pages of documents, most of which had been previously provided, but more than 900 of which were not previously provided to the attorney general. The attorney general’s office completed review of that documentation in late fall and also conducted several witness interviews in the second half of 2019 to confirm certain information and to determine whether more information was available.
Schmidt said the attorney general’s office now will coordinate with counsel for Mr. McIntyre to agree on specific terms of a proposed judgment they can jointly recommend to the court. He said he hopes and expects that can happen swiftly. If the court approves the judgment, then the judgment must be reviewed by the State Finance Council before payment can be made.
Mr. McIntyre served 23 years in prison for the 1994 murders of Donald Ewing and Doniel Quinn before being ordered released in 2017 by a Wyandotte County court reviewing the case. The new statute places a burden on a person claiming compensation for a wrongful conviction to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he did not commit, nor did he participate in, the crimes of which he was convicted. Upon satisfying the requirements of the statute, Mr. McIntyre will be entitled to a compensation payment of approximately $1.5 million, as well as reasonable attorney fees, counseling, housing assistance, personal financial literacy assistance, tuition assistance, and participation in the state health care benefits program.
In addition to Mr. McIntyre, four other people have filed claims for compensation pursuant to the new wrongful conviction statute. The State previously agreed to court-ordered payments to Richard Jones in a case arising from Johnson County and to Floyd Bledsoe in a case arising from Jefferson County. Two other cases arising from Sedgwick and Clay counties remain pending.