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Missouri Counties COVID-19 Surge | Kevin Strickland Case

Photo Illustration-Carlos Moreno
MIdwest Innocence Project
Confusion over whether innocence is enough for a non-death penalty conviction to be overturned in Missouri, keeps Kevin Strickland incarcerated in a prison in DeKalb County.

The probable causes behind the spike in COVID-19 cases in two north central Missouri counties, and the next legal step for Kevin Strickland who has been wrongly imprisoned for 43 years.

Segment 1, beginning at 1:00: Why are COVID-19 cases surging in two northern Missouri counties?

Despite ongoing vaccination efforts in Missouri, COVID-19 cases in Livingston and Linn Counties are respectively 13 times and 5 times greater than the statewide average. The Linn County Health Department administrator cites low vaccination numbers and the prevalence of three COVID-19 variants in the community as likely reasons. Across the state line in Johnson County, Kansas, cases are lower as 60% of eligible residents have been vaccinated.

Segment 2, beginning at 27:32: Despite setbacks, Kevin Strickland's legal team still has an avenue to securing their client's freedom.

One law professor blames procedural technicalities and state courts history. In spite of Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker asking that Strickland be freed, the Missouri Supreme Court recently declined to hear his petition. In addition, Missouri Governor Mike Parson passed Strickland over on his latest list of pardons. Now his attorney is faced with bringing Strickland's petition to the circuit court of DeKalb County where his client is imprisoned.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Chris Young is an Assistant Producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact him at chrisy@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer for KCUR Studios and host of the podcast A People’s History of Kansas City, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org.