A Kansas man, who spent more than half of his life in prison for a wrongful conviction, was awarded a $1.5 million settlement on Monday (Feb. 24). Lamonte McIntyre sued the state last year under a newly-implemented wrongful conviction statute.
“Today, Lamonte McIntyre has been declared, finally and conclusively, a completely innocent man. That long-overdue recognition, along with the statutory payment and other benefits will help lighten a bit the heavy load he has carried,” McIntyre’s lawyer, Cheryl A. Pilate, told CNN on Monday.
The settlement includes counseling, access to state-funded healthcare benefits for 2020 and 2021, and a tuition waiver to cover his post-secondary education up to 130 credit hours.
McIntyre was wrongly convicted in the 1994 murders of Donald Ewing and Doniel Quinn. He was just 17 years old at the time and served 8,583 days in prison before being released in 2017 at age 41.
“We are committed to faithfully administering the state’s mistaken-conviction law as the legislature wrote it,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement. “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.”
McIntyre is the third wrongfully convicted man in Kansas to be awarded a settlement after suing the state under the wrongful conviction law, which was enacted in 2018. Three additional lawsuits remain pending in “various stages of litigation.”
Since his release, the McIntyre has completed barber school and founded Miracle of Innocence, a non-profit organization helping the wrongfully convicted. McIntyre attends Penn Valley Metropolitan Community College where he is pursuing a business degree.
“I feel like a new person, I feel like I’m actually starting my life now,” he told ABC news affiliate KMBC.
See more on McIntyre’s story in the video above.