KCK man who worked to prove innocence dies in prison

John Keith Calvin.
John Keith Calvin.(KCTV5 News)
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:14 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The family and friends of John Keith Calvin are mourning after he died in prison on Wednesday morning.

Just last month, his family announced his cancer diagnosis and pleaded for a compassionate release so that he could die at home or in hospice. U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum denied the request.

The cancer was very aggressive. Calvin died in the El Dorado Correctional Facility, without family by his side. He was 56 years old.

Calvin was convicted of murdering John Coates in 2002 but had always proclaimed his innocence. KCTV5′s investigative team first reported on John Calvin in 2016.

Calvin said he was used in connection with the murder. He was asked to take a delivery to the victim’s door and, when Coates opened the door, he was shot and killed.

Calvin said he had no idea of the plan, ran from the scene, and told his family to call 911.

Another man, Melvin White, has confessed to the killing and backed John’s version of what happened that night.

“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.”

White took a plea deal and served 54 months in prison. But Calvin refused a plea deal, always maintaining his innocence.

His attorney, Cheryl Pilate, released this statement on Wednesday: