Lawrence McKinney
CBS News

A Tennessee man is fighting to receive rightful compensation after wrongfully spending more than 30 years in prison, CBS News reports.

In 1978, Lawrence McKinney was convicted by a Memphis, Tenn., jury of rape and burglary. The victim identified McKinney as one of two men who attacked her in her bedroom, and he was sentenced to 115 years in prison.

Thirty years later, in 2008, DNA testing of evidence scientifically excluded McKinney as a suspect in the case, CBS News notes, leading prosecutors to acknowledge that “if this evidence had been available … there would have been no prosecution.”

The following year, McKinney was released and given $75. But now he and his lawyer are fighting for him to receive more compensation, since, under Tennessee law, he could be eligible for up to $1 million. However, the parole board, which makes the decisions on compensation, has rejected his request twice.

“In an exoneration hearing, we have to have a lot of evidence, clear and convincing,” said Patsy Bruce, who served on Tennessee’s parole board for 12 years.


Bruce, who also heard McKinney's first exoneration case, told the network that the decisions of the judge and district attorney did not meet the criteria "because they didn’t notice that they didn’t test everything ordered by the original judge to be tested."

“I have not been convinced he is innocent,” she added, regarding McKinney.

According to prosecutors, two samples that were not tested either had no DNA or were so degraded, tests could not be done.


However, Jack Lowery, McKinney’s lawyer, insisted, “It is not justice for him not to receive compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned.”

Lowery has appealed the case to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who will have the final say.

Read more at CBS News