Keith Carnes reacts from prison: ‘I’m glad this is over with. Thank God.’

Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 1:42 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2022 at 2:03 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Keith Carnes got the best news this morning. His attorney, Kent Gipson, told him that the Missouri Supreme Court ordered that he should be released within the next 30 days, pending a retrial by the state.

The order came down yesterday, but they don’t get Kansas City television stations at the state prison in Licking, Missouri, where Carnes is an inmate. This morning, his attorney called with the good news.

Carnes seemed grateful and a bit overwhelmed.

“I just want to thank everybody -- the media, the newspaper, radio, my lawyers, all my supporters and advocates -- for fighting for me all these years and supporting my innocence,” said Carnes. “I’m glad that this is over with. I hope to see everyone soon.”

Carnes was convicted of murdering 24-year-old Larry White in October of 2003. Witnesses said they saw Carnes and White in a parking lot on Prospect Avenue and saw Carnes shoot White. Carnes was sentenced to life in prison.

Questions surround the case

Carnes has always maintained his innocence. Witnesses later recanted their testimony and said they were pressured to put the blame on Carnes. Documents were forged with Carnes’ signature. A review showed that the Kansas City police withheld a report from Carnes’ defense team. The report from a confidential informant might have led to Carnes being exonerated.

Gipson has represented Carnes for several years and believes there’s a strong case for his release. Miracle of Innocence, an advocacy group for those wrongly convicted, joined Carnes’ fight years ago.

“With DNA exonerations over the last 20 to 30 years, it’s made everybody realize that there are a lot more innocent people in prison than anybody would have liked to admit, particularly prosecutors and judges,” said Gipson.

Case review

For now, Carnes remains in prison. The state’s Attorney General, Eric Schmitt, has fought against Carnes’ release. Schmitt has previously said that the allegations that police withheld a report is “without merit.” But, the office said the decision to retry Carnes rests with the Jackson County Prosecutor.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said only: “We are actively reviewing now, and we await any other information the Missouri Supreme Court sends to us.”