KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kevin Strickland has a new judge on his case as he fights for his freedom, which means his hearing next week will be postponed.
The Missouri Supreme Court assigned a Judge James Welsh to the Kansas City man’s case after Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt argued the entire 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County should be disqualified.
When an appeals judge disagreed with the attorney general, Schmitt appealed again, taking his case to the state’s highest court.
Schmitt also argued that the case should be moved out of Jackson County, which the appeals judge rejected last week.
With the new judge, it’s not clear where or when Welsh will here the case now. Strickland was set to have a hearing on Oct. 5-6, but after this ruling, a new court hearing has not been set yet.
The attorney general’s office declined to comment Thursday night after the court’s decision.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has said Strickland was wrongfully convicted in a triple murder more than 40 years ago.
In 2009, the key witness recanted her testimony, saying she made a mistake identifying Strickland as the shooter.
Two other men who admitted to the crime also say Strickland is innocent. They have both since been released, but Strickland is serving life in prison on capital murder charges.
Still, Schmitt argues that Strickland is guilty and should remain behind bars. Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Parson, who has the authority to pardon Strickland if he wants, has said he’s not convinced that Strickland is innocent.