A Tennessee man released from prison after a wrongful conviction put him away for 31 years is fighting for an exoneration case that could grant him $1 million in compensation.
Lawrence McKinney, 60, of Memphis, Tenn., was convicted of rape and burglary in 1978 and was sentenced to prison for 115 years. He was released in 2009 after DNA evidence ruled him out as a suspect in the case.
After his release, McKinney was issued $75, and he could be eligible for up to $1 million in compensation if the Tennessee Parole Board hears his exoneration case, which has been denied twice already.
“I don’t have no life, all my life was taken away,” he told CBS News.
McKinney’s lawyer, Jack Lowery said he’s suffered enough and thinks that he should receive the compensation after 31 years behind bars.
“It is not justice for him not to receive compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned,” Lowery told the network.
In September, the parole board voted 7-0 to deny his exoneration case. Now, it’s up to Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.), who receives exoneration applications, to have the final say.
The governor’s press secretary, Jennifer Donnals, told The Tennessean that after the September decision, Haslam received an executive clemency application on Nov. 21.
Donnals confirmed to the Daily News that the governor’s office is conducting a thorough review of McKinney’s application with the board’s recommendation.
If McKinney’s case is approved he would also have the option to clear his name.
Patsy Bruce served on the parole board that denied McKinney’s first exoneration hearing, and she said she’s still not convinced he’s innocent.
That case was rejected because the judge and the district attorney did not provide sufficient evidence that was properly tested, she said.
“There has been one mistake made that sent him to prison. I trust that another is not made that does not allow him exoneration,” Lowery told CBS.