Lamonte McIntyre, who was age 18 in 1994 when he received two life terms for a Kansas City, Kan., double murder he has long maintained he did not commit, may be one step closer to being freed.
McIntyre, soon to turn 41 and imprisoned in the Lansing Correctional Facility, was 17 when he was arrested and later convicted in the shotgun murders of Doniel Quinn, 21, and Quinn’s distant cousin, Donald Ewing, 34.
Ever since April 15, 1994 — on the afternoon that Quinn and Ewing were killed while sitting in the front seat of the older cousin’s powder-blue Cadillac — even the victims’ close relatives who witnessed the crime have insisted that McIntyre was wrongly arrested for what they are convinced was a killing over drugs.
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A judge has set an evidentiary hearing for Oct. 10-17 to consider McIntyre’s possible innocence.
“Lamonte is very pleased and very eager and anxious to be in the courtroom and have the truth presented,” said his Kansas City attorney, Cheryl Pilate. “I feel quite confident that we have the evidence to show what happened here, how it happened, and that Lamonte is not responsible and has absolutely no connection to this.”
Pilate, in collaboration with the Princeton, N.J., nonprofit Centurion Ministries, has been working for nearly seven years to gather evidence to prove McIntyre’s innocence.
In October, The Kansas City Star published a special project, “No Justice,” that chronicled not only the grisly murders but also the series of events that led to the arrest of McIntyre, a teenager who had skipped school on the day of the killings and insists he never knew, met or heard of the men who were murdered.
In her motion for exoneration, filed in Wyandotte County District Court in June 2016, Pilate laid out a story of false arrest, conviction and imprisonment involving a shoddy and corrupted police investigation as well as prosecutorial misconduct.
Although the hearing is to take place over about a week in Wyandotte County District Court, it will not be heard by a Wyandotte County judge. It instead was handed over to Senior Judge Edward Bouker, a retired judge out of Ellis County, Kan. Bouker earlier this month signed the order calling for the hearing.
An evidentiary hearing is not a trial, but at its conclusion the judge will have the option of vacating McIntyre’s conviction and setting him free. Pilate said she expected to call as many as 30 witnesses.
“This gives him the opportunity to present evidence in the courtroom that will establish his innocence,” Pilate said. “It is a very important and exciting development in the case.”