Missouri AG’s appeal to move Strickland case, disqualify judges rejected

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An appeals judge denies a request to disqualify the entire 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County from Kevin Strickland’s case.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office asked a state appeals court to overturn a ruling involving which judges would oversee a hearing in the case. Jackson County prosecutors have said was wrongfully convicted in a triple murder more than 40 years ago.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Attorneys in Schmitt’s office appealed a judge’s decision that would allow judges in Jackson County to hear local prosecutors argue that Strickland is innocent. Schmitt’s office argues the 16th Circuit Court judges have shown a bias in Strickland’s favor.

Jackson County Judge Kevin Harrell has said he found no factual basis to recuse himself from the case and will hear Strickland’s new evidence as soon as October 5.

At the October hearing, lawyers plan to present evidence of how Cynthia Douglas, the only witness to the triple homicide for which Strickland is imprisoned, tried for years to recant her testimony identifying Strickland as the shooter. Douglas died in 2015.

Schmitt has said he believes Strickland is guilty of the triple murders that happened in Kansas City in 1978. The AG’s office said it planned to appeal Thursday’s ruling.

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