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Lawrence McKinney

Lawrence McKinney

31 Years in Prison: Innocent

Cause: Eyewitness Misidentification
Real Perpetrator Found: No
State: Tennessee
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Photo by Jared Felkins, Lebanon Democrat

The Crime and Investigation

On October 2, 1977, a woman was raped by two men in her apartment in Memphis, Tennessee.
She identified one of the men as 22-year-old Lawrence McKinney, who lived nearby and on October 7, 1977, he was charged with the assault. She also identified another man who lived nearby as participating in the gang rape.
McKinney was convicted in Shelby County Criminal Court on June 22, 1978 after the victim identified him in court as one of her attackers. He was sentenced to 100 years in prison. The other co-defendant also was convicted and sentenced to prison.

The law firm of Massey McCluskey represented McKinney in seeking exoneration.
In August 2008, tests of biological stains from the victim’s bed linen revealed a mixture of stains from three people—none of whom was McKinney. The tests identified the DNA profiles of McKinney’s co-defendant and the victim’s profile.
On June 30, 2009, his conviction was vacated and the charges were dismissed. He was released on July 20, 2009.
– Maurice Possley

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The Causes

  • Eyewitness Misidentification
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The Facts

Incident Date: 10/2/77
Jurisdiction: TN
Charge: First-degree rape, Burglary
Conviction: First-degree rape, Burglary
Conviction Date: 6/22/78
Exoneration Date: 6/30/09
Sentence: 100 years
Served: 31 years
Real Perpetrator Found: No
Compensation: Not Yet
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