Jackson County prosecutor officially drops Kidd charges, ending 23-year wrongful conviction

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In a memorandum of dismissal, Jackson County prosecutors dropped charges against Kidd after a 23-year-long story of wrongful conviction, imprisonment and exoneration.

"I support Mr. Kidd’s release and find the evidence is insufficient to proceed toward another trial," prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement.

The memorandum states that a judge found the original court proceedings involving Kidd were "deeply flawed." Kidd was originally charged, along with Marcus Merrill, in a double homicide in 1996, but was recently released.

Prosecutors will not proceed with a new trial against Kidd because they lack sufficient evidence that could lead to an indictment, according to the document.

"The quality and quantity of the current evidence is not likely to result in a jury finding Ricky Kidd guilty for the murders of George Bryant and Oscar Bridges," the document states.

"Mr. Kidd has served over two decades in prison for this crime and we must ensure that fairness and due process are afforded to Kidd, who has maintained his innocence since his initial arrest and throughout this process."

Kidd's lead attorney, UMKC Law professor Sean O'Brien, said he and Kidd were ecstatic to hear the news that he's now free.

"Well he cried and he choked, and it took him a while to get his voice," O'Brien said of Kidd. "And he says, 'I'm grateful it's over, and then he cried some more and he said, 'I'm happy to have my life back.'"

But O'Brien said he's sad that the case is still unsolved.

"As an attorney, I'm sad for the families of this homicide. The case remains unsolved, and justice wasn't accomplished here," he said. "And that kind of tempers all of this for me. As lawyer, this is a failure."

Kidd was initially identified as a shooter by a neighbor and Bryant's 4-year-old daughter. The neighbor has since admitted he could have been mistaken as his testimony has come under scrutiny.

"The passage of time and the loss of additional corroborating evidence to support the out-of-court identification limits the State’s ability to present a complete case, beyond a reasonable doubt, as to what, if any, involvement Kidd had in the murders," the document states.

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