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Unified Government to pay $12.5 million to wrongfully imprisoned Kansas City, Kansas, man

A man and a woman embrace in the middle of a courtroom.
File photo
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Lamonte McIntyre, hugs his attorney, Cheryl Pilate, on Oct. 13, 2017, in Wyandotte County District Court after he was exonerated of a double homicide and released from prison.

Lamonte McIntyre was wrongfully imprisoned for more 24 years for a double homicide he didn’t commit.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, unanimously approved a $12.5 million settlement Thursday night with Lamonte McIntyre, who was wrongfully imprisoned for more than 24 years for a double slaying he didn't commit.

McIntyre, 45, had sought $93 million and his mother, Rose, had asked for $30 million in their civil lawsuit against the UG and various Kansas City, Kansas, police officers, including former Detective Roger Golubski, who allegedly framed the then-17-year-old McIntyre for the double homicide in 1994.

The Wyandotte County Commission voted 9-0 to settle the case and to issue bonds to fund the payout. Commissioner Gayle Townsend said she reluctantly and “sadly” voted to approve it.

“This would not mean the Unified Government is admitting to any wrongdoing. It brings final resolution,” Townsend said. “It’s an expensive choice."

The settlement came after a mediation session Wednesday led by former Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James, who is a lawyer.

Cheryl Pilate, one of McIntyre's lawyers, said in an email that McIntyre "now hopes to put this painful chapter behind him and move forward with his life."

"He is grateful for those who have supported him and for those who brought forward the truth," Pilate said. "Lamonte remains deeply committed to the cause of justice, particularly in Wyandotte County, and will continue to be a voice for those who have suffered wrongful convictions or other injustices."

Mike Abrams, another attorney representing McIntyre, said, "There's no amount of currency in the world that can make amends for the 24-plus years that Lamont McIntyre spent in prison for crimes that he didn't commit. But we hope that this settlement will allow him to continue to lead his life and that he'll continue to fight for justice in our community and around the country."

The settlement brings an end to the lawsuit, which was scheduled to go to trial in October. U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Vratil, at the end of a two-day pre-trial hearing in May, predicted the verdict could be “huge” if the case were to go to trial. The same day, KCUR reported that the UG had warned bond investors that the McIntyre case could result in significant financial problems for the UG.

“I’d be concerned about the public interest and good government if you lose this case,” Vratil told the UG's attorneys.

Still ongoing is a federal grand jury investigation. Federal subpoenas KCUR obtained through a public records request suggest that authorities are conducting a sweeping investigation of the KCKPD during the more than three decades Golubski served on the force, including demands for more than two decades of homicide cases, internal affairs reports and informant files.

McIntyres’ lawyers say Golubski abused Black women for years, exploiting them for sex, then using them as anonymous “informants” to clear cases or to protect drug dealers. Including Rose McIntyre, 73 women were listed in court documents as women Golubski allegedly victimized.

Golubski, whom the McIntyres said framed Lamonte McIntyre after previously sexually assaulting his mother, has denied the allegations and asked that his “alleged bad character” not be allowed as evidence in the case. He said he was good at the job he held from 1975 through 2010, when he retired.

But Golubski has otherwise been mum. During a deposition by McIntyre's lawyers, he refused to answer any questions about the case, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 500 times.

McIntyre, who now lives in Arizona, was “exposed to stark and horrific conditions” during his years in prison, and failed to get the life experience adults need to make a successful life, his lawyers said. He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as depression and anxiety. Rose McIntyre has been in and out of psychological treatment for 17 years and was diagnosed with complex PTSD.

In their lawsuit, the McIntyres alleged the Unified Government shared blame for their pain and suffering because police department leaders knew about but turned a blind eye to Golubski’s activities.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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