Man convicted of 1994 double murder set free after hearing - KCTV5

Man convicted of 1994 double murder set free after hearing

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Lamonte McIntyre was released on Friday evening. (Angie Ricono/KCTV5) Lamonte McIntyre was released on Friday evening. (Angie Ricono/KCTV5)
A hearing began Thursday in Wyandotte County to reconsider the case against Lamonte McIntyre, who was sentenced to consecutive life terms in the 1994 deaths of Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing. (KCTV5) A hearing began Thursday in Wyandotte County to reconsider the case against Lamonte McIntyre, who was sentenced to consecutive life terms in the 1994 deaths of Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV/AP) -

A Kansas City, KS man who has spent more than half his life in prison for a double homicide has been set free. 

A hearing began Thursday in Wyandotte County to reconsider the case against Lamonte McIntyre, who was sentenced to consecutive life terms in the 1994 deaths of Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing. They were shot in broad daylight as they sat in a car in a drug-infested neighborhood.

McIntyre, 41, has always said he was innocent.

His case returned to court after a motion by his legal team, including Kansas City attorney Cheryl Pilate and representatives from the Midwest Innocence Project and Centurion Ministries Inc., which work to free those wrongfully convicted. Pilate and Centurion have been researching the case for about eight years.

On Friday, the murder charged against him were dismissed.

At 3:45 p.m. he walked outside and was greeted by a cheering crowd that included his family members, the victims' family members, and attorneys from two innocence projects who have worked tirelessly to set him free and clear his name.

His mother and siblings rushed to hug him. They were emotional embraces that they've waited decades to have.

His mother said she has been waiting to walk in the sunlight with her son. 

McIntyre thanked everyone who has supported him for decades.

There was a moment when McIntyre hugged a woman who said she was pressured decades ago to pick him out of a lineup. She was scheduled to testify today on his behalf. McIntyre told her he forgave her long ago and knew she was pressured to say what she did.

McIntyre was 17 when police in Kansas City, KS arrested him for the murders. Investigators who worked the case issued no search warrants, arrested McIntyre after 19 minutes of interviews, did not conduct a thorough forensic investigation, did not interview key subjects or ever discover a link between McIntyre and the victims, according to testimony. No gun was ever recovered.

One of the nearly 50 supporters who attended the hearing Thursday was Quinn's mother, Saundra Newsom, who said she doesn't believe McIntyre killed her son.

"I just hope that we just do the right thing and let him out," she said while testifying. "Let him find a life. Let him be at peace. Let us be at peace."

Two witnesses to the crime said in affidavits that the told the prosecutor in the case that McIntyre was the wrong man. One, Niko Quinn, said was pressured to lie and name McIntyre as the perpetrator.

James McCloskey, the founder of Centurion, testified that Doniel Quinn was targeted because he was accused of stealing drugs. The victims' family and investigators believe a man currently serving a 33-year sentence in Missouri for a 2000 murder was paid $500 to kill the two men.

Ronald Singer, a forensic scientist with the Tarrant County (Texas) Medical Examiner's Office, testified Thursday that investigators didn't test McIntyre's clothes for glass or blood from the crime scene, or search his home for the shotgun used in the crime. They also made no attempt to find a link that would put McIntyre at the scene, Singer said.

McCloskey expressed shock that detectives ignored the many people who told them they had the wrong man.

"It stunned me," he said on the stand. "How could you not listen to the loved ones who witnessed this traumatic, broad daylight slaying of these two people?"

McIntyre was set free on Friday evening.

He said he was too overwhelmed to know what he wants to be his first meal as a free man. He plans to relax with his family and take it all in.

Here are some more quotes from McIntyre:

God is good.

I’d like to thank The Innocence Project, everyone that supported me.

. . . 

I’ve been waiting for this moment. I knew it would come.

. . .

It definitely feels good. I’m in control of my own life. I can make my own choices.

. . . 

God is good. I knew God would protect me. I knew he would surround me with good people.

. . . 

I prayed a lot. I did this for 23  years, I thank God.

Now if you excuse me, I got something to do.

The Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office issued the following statement after it was announced that McIntyre would be set free: 

As prosecutors, our job, as certified by the United States Supreme Court in Berger v. U.S. in 1935, we are “in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law”, and our job is to pursue justice, not simply convictions.

Information has been presented over the last few weeks leading up to this case; in the media, by Mr. McIntyre’s defense team, and by individuals in this community alleging misconduct on the part of KCKPD, then Wyandotte County Asst. District Attorney Terra Morehead, Judge Burdette, and former detective Roger Golubski. Let me be clear: my office is not endorsing, certifying, agreeing, nor stipulating that any of those individuals or entities committed any wrongdoing. That is simply not the question for this Court, or for my office in a proceeding on Mr. McIntyre’s case. Our focus is not to entertain, but to seek justice. The question is merely whether the unanimous jury verdict in 1994 might have been different if the information presented to my office was available for consideration during their deliberation. It is incumbent upon my office, as ministers of justice to this community, to ensure that the process we employ to bring about that justice is done in such a way that due process is provided to all accused, no matter how many years have passed.

In light of information learned by my office since I began in January, including the investigation my office has taken since January, as well as through conversations with opposing counsel and many of the proposed witnesses set to testify over the next week, I have been presented with information regarding identification of Mr. McIntyre in 1994 as the killer of Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing. That information, which I believe was not available during the trial, is of a nature that I believe that had it been presented to the jury in the 1994 trial that convicted Mr. McIntyre, it may certainly have caused those jurors to have reasonable doubt as to Mr. McIntyre’s guilt. It is because of this information, and only this information, my office is requesting the Court find that manifest injustice exists, and that Mr. McIntyre should be granted an opportunity for a new trial. 

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