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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.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Chris Young is an Assistant Producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact him at chrisy@kcur.org.
Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.
Mackenzie Martin makes podcasts for KCUR Studios. You can find her on Twitter @_macmartin.