KCK family calls for compassionate release of John Calvin

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 7:31 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Inside a KCK church on Friday, the family of John Calvin stood and wept. It’s bad enough that they recently learned 56-year-old Calvin is dying of colon cancer, but he will likely die in prison.

“He has stage 4 cancer and the doctors are recommending hospice,” said Calvin’s daughter, Kiardra Calvin.

Calvin was convicted of murdering John Coates in 2003—a murder he swears he didn’t do. Calvin and his family have been pushing for justice. Now, they’re begging for compassion.

KCTV5′s investigative team has covered John Calvin’s case a number of times. He’s been in prison for 20 years despite that another man has confessed to the killing. That man, Melvin White is free.

“I did it,” White said in a prior interview. “I feel bad. I should be doing the time, not him. I’m the one who pulled the trigger.”

Police arrested both White and Calvin in the case. They were charged with robbery and murder. But both will tell you this was no partnership. Calvin said he went to the murder victim’s door with a delivery. When Coates opened the door, he was shot and killed. Calvin said he had no idea what was planned.

“I ran from there,” said Calvin from prison. “I got away from there. I told my family to call the police, ‘there’s been a shooting.’ "

White took a plea deal and was sentenced to 60 months. He served just 54 months.

Calvin refused a plea deal and maintained his innocence. He went to court, was convicted, and is serving a life sentence.

White told us Calvin is telling the truth.

“He nothing to do with nothing,” White cries when he talks about what happened. “I should never have asked him to go with me.”

This case becomes even more complicated. Calvin’s family has long accused disgraced detective Roger Golubski of working the case in the shadows, influencing Calvin’s conviction.

They also question Golubski’s connections with the death and investigation of their sister, Rose Calvin. She was murdered in 1996. Golubski was connected to the investigation, and it was never solved.

“(It’s) heartbreaking, frustrating,” said daughters Kiardra Calvin and Jalisa Bluford. “My family is scared, still to this day, to even speak up. But it angers me, that we can’t do nothing about it.”

Golubski now faces numerous federal charges related to rape, kidnapping and sex trafficking. He’s on house arrest while the case moves through the courts due to medical conditions—he needs dialysis.

Consideration given for a former police officer facing serious charges, while time is running out for Calvin.

Kansas law makes it next to impossible for Calvin to get a compassionate release but the family hopes something can be done for him.

They want him moved to a prison closer to KCK so they could visit him. They want him to be allowed more phone calls, and they want to be sure he’ll have pain management as the cancer progresses.

KCTV5 reached out to the Kansas Department of Corrections and the Governor’s Office regarding the situation but have not heard back.