A Lebanon, Tennessee, man is fighting for $1 million in compensation after spending three decades in prison for a crime he did not commit.
In 1978, Lawrence McKinney was convicted by a Memphis jury of raping a woman during a burglary. The victim identified McKinney as one of two men who attacked her and he was sentenced to 115 years for the deed.
He spent 31 years and nine months behind bars but was declared innocent in 2008 after a thorough examination of DNA evidence cleared him. McKinney was released in 2009, but he was given only $75 for his trouble.
Now, the 60-year-old man must depend on odd jobs from his local church to stay afloat, but he remains hopeful that he will be compensated, CBS Evening News reported.
McKinney has gone to Tennessee’s parole board twice demanding restitution, but the board rejected him both times.
Many on that board believe that the exonerated man was not truly proven innocent. Board member Patsy Bruce and prosecutors believe that the DNA evidence from two samples had no DNA or were so degraded tests could not be performed.
“In an exoneration hearing, we have to have a lot of evidence, clear and convincing,” Bruce said. “I have not been convinced he is innocent.”
McKinney has appealed his case to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.