Ricky Kidd celebrates with UMKC Law students who helped him walk out of prison after 23 years

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A week after being released from prison on a judge’s orders, Ricky Kidd celebrated with the students who helped him with his freedom Thursday night.

About 50 UMKC Law students worked on Kidd’s 11 appeals over the past 15 years. One of the first students to press for his freedom was Lindsay Runnels.  She’s since become a professor teaching wrongful convictions.

Another student credits the lack of evidence and presence of an alibi in Kidd’s double murder conviction with helping convince her to go to law school. But she says it was Kidd himself who helped get her through it.

“I don’t know if I didn`t work on Ricky`s case if I`d have even gone to law school, let alone finished it. He actually helped me get through the bar, too,” Sydney Ragsdale said.

At first Kidd wasn`t sure how much Runnels, Professor Sean O’Brien and their students could do to help him.

“It wasn’t until I started to see the fruits of their labor where they would actually come back with results — ‘This is what we found. This is what we discovered,’ — that I realized they had a powerful role and an important role,” Kidd said.

Kidd told the students he wouldn’t let their work getting him out of prison last week be in vain, vowing to be better, not bitter.

He plans on going to take his driver’s test Monday morning. He said the biggest surprise he’s encountered during his first week out of prison in 23 years was automated checkout counters.

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