KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ricky Kidd, exonerated after 23 years is reacting to Kevin Strickland’s release from prison after 43 years.
Strickland and Kidd both served prison sentences at the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri.
While Kidd was there for 23, Strickland served nearly two decades more.
Kidd tells FOX4 for years the men lived across the hall from one another. When he was released from jail he told Strickland he would one day be free too.
Now, that is a reality.
It’s a moment very few can understand. Ricky Kidd hugs Kevin Strickland after Strickland spent 43 years in prison for a triple murder he said he did not commit.
“In that moment Kevin and I were having an experience that only two exonerees could have,” Kidd said. “That only two individuals know what it’s like to finally be cut loose and to be free at last.”
Kidd knows because he spent 23 years in the Cameron prison for a double murder he did not commit.
The men lived across the hall from each other and had hope for the future.
“We were under that same circumstance,” Kidd said. “That same scenario where we were both wrongfully convicted and unsure if we would ever get out.”
Kidd went through the same experience in August of 2019.
“We talked about what if he makes it? ‘What should I look forward to?’ ‘What if I don’t make it?’ ‘Ricky, I can’t afford to lose again.’ I just was being optimistic telling him he’s going to win, he’s not going to lose again. Don’t let that stay in your head and he won,” Kidd said.
In the more than two years Kidd left prison he’s become a motivational speaker, got married and had a baby girl.
He said having her there to meet Strickland was incredible.
“He smiled. We haven’t seen Kevin smile,” he said. To be able to see that smile on his face, a free man smile, is priceless.”
Kidd signed for Strickland’s release. He said he hopes it’s not the last one.
“I want to sign more. Tell me where do I sign again? I want to sign Lamar Johnson’s. I want to sign his paper and everybody else who is rightfully innocent and deservedly of their freedom,” Kidd said.
Kidd mentioned Lamar Johnson is someone he would like to see exonerated in the future. Johnson is in a St. Louis prison and has been for 24 years. Kidd said he hopes to work with Strickland to help people like Johnson in the future.