Man convicted of murder in 1997 freed
Jun. 10, 2018
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who served 20 years in prison is enjoying his freedom after he had his sentence commuted by outgoing Gov. Eric Greitens.
Jessie McKim, 52, had been serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the 1997 death of Wendy Wagnon of Kirksville, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported .
Evidence of an inaccurate ruling the part of a medical examiner, prosecutorial misconduct and witness credibility were all said to be reasons for a new trial. But they were all denied by appeals courts.
Greitens said in a release that "six experts have concluded that the cause of death identified at the time was completely wrong" in McKim's case. McKim was released on June 1.
"Jessie McKim is currently serving a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, for a crime he did not commit," Greitens said in the release announcing McKim's commutation.
The announcement was welcomed news to McKim and his attorney Jennifer Bukowsky, who took his appeals case in 2013.
"It's the clearest case of actual innocence I've ever seen," she said.
Richard Hicks, the appointed prosecutor in the case, maintains that McKim is guilty and says he's concerned the former governor's office never spoke with him about the case.
"I think the governor was absolutely incorrect," Hicks said. "I still believe Jessie McKim is guilty of that crime. What bothered me is not one person in the governor's administration ever reached out to the prosecutor, me, and asked any questions about any of this. I think there were a lot of facts left out.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com