Ricky Kidd innocent in double homicide, judge says
The case against Ricky Kidd has been dismissed, meaning he is now exonerated in the 1996 double murder he spent 23 years in prison for, but did not commit.
Evidence — including changed testimony and the unavailability of witnesses — is insufficient to proceed with another trial, said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.
“In the end, the criminal justice system must demonstrate it always seeks to get it right,” she said, adding that her office met with the families of the victims prior to the announcement.
For decades, Kidd has maintained his innocence in the Kansas City killings of George Bryant and Oscar Bridges.
Though Kidd had an alibi and no physical evidence linked him to the incident, he was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for each murder.
Co-defendant Marcus Merrill, who confessed, was also convicted.
One month ago, a DeKalb County judge said Kidd’s innocence was “clear and convincing.” In ordering Kidd be released or retried within 30 days, Judge Daren Adkins cited recanted testimony and evidence prosecutors failed to disclose.
Kidd was freed the next day and with Friday’s dismissal, is now exonerated.
“We’re ecstatic that after 23 years, today marks the end of this nightmare for Ricky Kidd,” said Tricia Bushnell, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project. “It’s finally over and he can start the long process of rebuilding his life.”
Bushnell said Kidd will be one of many added to the National Registry of Exonerations. According to the registry, 46 people in Missouri have been exonerated while across the U.S., there have been 2,491 exonerations to date.