This is an Official Urban Fundr managed campaign. As in the past with when we have raised fund on behave of a 3rd party we will be reaching out to Mr. McKinney's attorney to transfer of all funds.
- Lawrence McKinney was convicted of rape and burglary charges and sentenced to 115 years in jail
- Tennessee's governor must exonerate McKinney for him to be eligible to receive up to $1 million in compensation
- Board of Parole would not recommend him for exoneration
McKinney was released and given $75 in 2009, after more than 31 years and nine months.
“I don’t have no life, all my life was taken away,” he said.
Since then, McKinney has depended on odd jobs at his church just to pay the bills. Under Tennessee law he could be eligible for up to $1 million in compensation. But the parole board, which hears such cases, has rejected his request twice.
“In an exoneration hearing we have to have a lot of evidence, clear and convincing,” said Patsy Bruce, who served on Tennessee’s parole board for 12 years and heard McKinney’s first exoneration case.
DNA evidence cleared him of the charges in 2008, and when he was released in 2009, the Tennessee Department of Corrections gave him a $75 check to restart his life.
Board voted against McKinney's exoneration
A formal exoneration could open a pathway to $1 million in compensation from the state Board of Claims for the decades McKinney was wrongfully imprisoned. "The (parole) board reviewed all relevant information related to the crime, conviction and subsequent appeals, as well as all information provided by the petitioner," said Melissa McDonald, spokesperson for the Tennessee Board of Parole. "After considering all of the evidence, the board did not find clear and convincing evidence of innocence and declined to recommend clemency in this matter."
'Only the strong survive'
His last chance
While he and his team are optimistic, McKinney knows this is his final opportunity for exoneration. This is his second attempt; he initially tried in 2010, but then-Gov. Phil Bredesen never acted on the board's recommendation against exoneration before leaving office. When Haslam became governor, McKinney was given the opportunity to apply again.
According to McDonald, Tennessee's governors have granted two exonerations in the past 16 years, and both were in January 2011, just over a week before Bredesen vacated the governor's mansion.