Withheld police report, confidential informant sends Kansas City murder case back to court

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Two months after a special evidentiary hearing, the wrongful conviction case of Keith Carnes will make another appearance in a Kansas City courtroom.

According to court transcripts, there is a new police report that was withheld and never made known the defense team.

Supporters and the group Miracle of Innocence helping fighting for his release say this is new information is pivotal in Carnes’ claims of innocence.

“During the first hearing, one of the detectives inadvertently blurted out that there was a confidential informant, and no one knew about that confidential informant,” said Executive Director of Miracle of Innocence, Cliff Iliff. “We are extremely hopeful.”

The defense team says they previously subpoenaed the prosecutor’s office for the records, when those records were returned, nothing in the file contained this information.

“There was some information that came out about my case that was not disclosed until many years later. This is what’s so tragic about it. It takes decades before this new evidence comes to light,” said Co-Founder Miracle of Innocence, Darryl Burton. “He’s been there two decades. That’s far too long. The man should’ve been home.”

Keith Carnes has spent nearly two decades in prison for the 2003 murder of Larry White. A murder he maintains he did not commit.

His defense attorneys working overtime to prove this claim.

During the September evidentiary hearing, they highlighted the lack of physical evidence connecting Carnes to the crime scene, recanted eyewitness statements and forged documents with Carnes’ signature.

Testimony by a ballistic expert also supported their claim that discredited the previous eyewitness testimony.

“Mistakes were made at the original trial, both as a result of not having really effective assistance of counsel. More importantly, it now turns out evidence that would be totally exculpatory was withheld from the defense,” Iliff said. “It’s a matter of days or weeks before the special master will send his recommendation to the Missouri Supreme Court and we are certain that that’s going to be a recommendation for exoneration.”

Advocates and supporters are hopeful Carnes will be freed, their wish is he will be home for the upcoming holidays.

“Hopefully the courts now, there’s ample, more than enough evidence about his innocence to release him immediately,” said Burton. “We are hoping he won’t have another trial, but if he’s granted a new trial, there’s no evidence to even try him again. We’re just hoping he will be exonerated and set free and released.”
A brief virtual hearing will be held Thursday.

A rally in support of Carnes will be held outside the Jackson County Courthouse will also be held at 9 a.m.

Due to this new information, the Missouri attorney general filed a motion to heighten security to protect the name of the confidential informant.

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