KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Ricky Kidd is enjoying his first full day of freedom after spending 23 years in prison for a double murder he did not commit.
He walked out of prison on Thursday after lengthy legal battle. Now, he’s ready for what’s next.
His focus is on making up for lost time and all the memories he missed out on.
“I want to spend time with my family,” he said.
However, Kidd will get nothing for the time he spent in prison. That’s because his wrongful conviction took place in Missouri and people only get compensation if their conviction is overturned due to DNA. DNA is not why a judge freed Kidd.
Weeks before his release, Kidd’s legal team was discussing the lack of compensation he’ll get when he’s finally freed.
Tricia Bushnell is with the Midwest Innocence Project and pointed out the cold reality that, when it comes to exonerations, the numbers show most wrongful convictions have little to do with DNA.
The National Registry of Exonerations has been keeping track. Since 1989, 2,400 people have been exonerated. However, only about 20% of those cases involved DNA.
The double murder Kidd was wrongly convicted of lacked DNA evidence. The murder weapon was never found. Detectives collected a piece of bread at the scene and compared shoeprints, which did not match Kidd.
Lamonte McIntyre also spent 23 behind bars after being wrongfully convicted in Kansas. He’s been out for almost two years.
He said starting over is tough.
“The compensation thing is very, very important,” he said. “You need help.”
McIntrye points out that people who have been wrongfully locked up often lack job skills and career paths. They lack the basics like savings accounts and medical insurance.
“I didn’t have insurance,” he said. “Went to the dentist. $3,000 bill.”
Kidd has only been out for 24 hours.
He said he plans to work on wrongful convictions and educate people about what causes them.
Kidd’s other big priority is his best friend Lamar Johnson. We’ve reported on Johnson’s case because both the Midwest Innocence Project and prosecutors agree he’s innocent. Despite that, he’s currently still sitting in a St. Louis jail cell while legal details are being hashed out.
His case has allegations of police corruption.
So, neither Johnson nor Kidd will get any support from the state because their wrongful convictions do not involve DNA.