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Lamonte McIntyre

Other Kansas Murder Exonerations
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At about 2 p.m. on April 15, 1994, a man carrying a shotgun ran down a hill toward the 3000 block of Hutchings Street in Kansas City, Kansas. He walked to the passenger side of a parked Cadillac and blasted out the window in an explosion of glass. The gunman ejected the shell and fired again—and again and again—four shots in all.

There were two men in the front seat. Twenty-one-year-old Doniel Quinn died instantly and 34-year-old Donald Ewing died shortly thereafter at a hospital.

Less than 24 hours later, police said they had solved the crime with the arrest of 17-year-old Lamonte McIntyre based on identifications by two eyewitnesses.

McIntyre went to trial on September 26, 1994 in Wyandotte County District Court. He was charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder.

Ejected shotgun shells had been recovered, but none was examined for fingerprints. No physical evidence linked McIntyre to the crime. Although McIntyre was arrested within hours of the shooting, police never sought to examine his clothing, despite witness statements that the gunman was standing right next to the car when the shots were fired and likely would have been hit by exploding glass and possibly blood.

Neighborhood residents Niko Quinn, who was Doniel Quinn’s cousin, and Ruby Mitchell testified that they recognized the gunman as McIntyre.

McIntyre’s family members testified that he was with them at the time of the shooting.

There was no evidence about why the killings occurred or that McIntyre had any connection to the victims. Nevertheless, prosecutor Terra Morehead told the jury that McIntyre had a “vendetta” against them.

After a three-day trial, the jury convicted McIntyre of both counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison

Less than a year later, the case began to unravel. Stacy Quinn, Niko Quinn’s sister, had been across the street from the shooting. She came forward to say she saw the gunman and he was not McIntyre. She said police never questioned her at the time.

In addition, Niko Quinn recanted her identification of McIntyre, saying she told prosecutor Morehead twice before the trial that McIntyre was not the gunman. According to Quinn, Morehead told her that unless she testified and identified McIntyre, she would be arrested and the state would take away her children. Morehead never disclosed to McIntyre’s defense attorneys Niko Quinn’s statements.

Niko Quinn and Stacy Quinn signed sworn affidavits saying that McIntyre was too tall, his face was too long, and his ears stuck out too much to have been the person they saw.

But following an evidentiary hearing in 1996, Judge J. Dexter Burdette declined to grant McIntyre a new trial. After hearing Stacy Quinn testify, Burdette dismissed her testimony as unreliable because she was a drug user and had failed to come forward earlier. Burdette reviewed Niko Quinn’s affidavit and declared that her recantation had “no credibility whatsoever.”

More than 20 years later, on October 13, 2017, in the midst of another evidentiary hearing and in the face of a cascade of evidence of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree abruptly rose and announced that the prosecution agreed that McIntyre’s conviction should be vacated.

Dupree then dismissed the charges and McIntyre was freed after more than 23 years in prison. His first words upon release as he walked into the embrace of his mother, Rosie McIntyre, were, “It’s nice outside.”

McIntyre’s release was the product of more than two decades of re-investigation, first initiated by Centurion Ministries, a non-profit organization in New Jersey that investigates wrongful convictions. Centurion brought in attorney Cheryl Pilate, who teamed with Mark Bussell, a retired police detective, and later with the Midwest Innocence Project. Over the years they uncovered substantial additional evidence that undermined the state’s case against McIntyre.

• Prosecutor Morehead not only failed to disclose to the defense that Niko Quinn insisted prior to trial that McIntyre was innocent, but also that Niko Quinn’s mother, Josephine Quinn, came to court and said McIntyre was not the gunman. Morehead said nothing to the defense and sent Josephine Quinn away.

• Prosecutor Morehead elicited false testimony from Ruby Mitchell, who initially told police that she could only tell the gunman was brown-skinned and wore his hair in French braids. She told police that she thought the gunman might be a man named Lamonte who had French braids and had dated her neice. Three hours later—after she was intimidated and sexually propositioned by the lead detective, Richard Golubski—Mitchell identified McIntyre in a photographic lineup. To convince the jury that Mitchell's identification was reliable, Morehead, through her questioning, elicited false testimony from Mitchell that she just picked the person she saw and that she no longer believed the gunman was the Lamonte who had dated her niece.

• Evidence showed that before he retired, Golubski was well known in the department for his vast array of informants, many of them prostitutes with whom he had sex.

• Physical evidence showed that Mitchell would not have been able to see the gunman’s face—as she testified at the trial—from the spot where she said she was standing when the murders occurred.

• Stacy Quinn had a sexual relationship with Golubski for several years and was in regular contact with him. However, Golubski never documented her account of the shooting.

• Several witnesses said the murders were committed by a man known as “Monster,” who worked as an enforcer for drug kingpin Aaron Robinson. At the time of the murders, Doniel Quinn was working for Robinson and may have incurred Robinson’s wrath by stealing some of his drugs. Robinson later died, and the man known as “Monster,” Neil Edgar, Jr., was imprisoned for a later murder.

• Before the murders, some of Robinson’s dealers had beaten Doniel Quinn for stealing drugs. The autopsy of Doniel Quinn showed recent blunt force trauma to the back of his head.

• Prosecutor Morehead and Judge Burdette had a romantic relationship in 1990 and 1991—as recently as three years before McIntyre’s trial—but failed to disclose it to the defense.

In June 2016, Pilate moved to vacate McIntyre’s conviction. In a filing of more than 100 pages, she detailed how the evidence against McIntyre had been disproven or recanted. The motion, which was supported by more than 40 sworn affidavits from a vast array of witnesses, claimed that the police and prosecution “consistently subverted and concealed the truth—manufacturing evidence and presenting testimony they knew to be false.”

An evidentiary hearing on the petition was convened in Wyandotte County District Court on October 12, 2017. Among the first witnesses were relatives of the victims who testified that they had long believed that McIntyre was not the killer.

The following day, as Pilate was preparing to call Judge Burdette to testify about his romantic relationship with prosecutor Morehead, the court recessed for lunch.

District Attorney Dupree, who had been in the hearing for a short time the day before, came to court after the recess and asked Senior District Judge Edward Bouker to vacate McIntyre’s conviction. Bouker granted the motion and Dupree dismissed the charges.

Dupree said he was not admitting that Burdette, Morehead, or Golubski had committed any misconduct, but that he was acting to correct a “manifest injustice.”

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 10/16/2017
State:Kansas
County:Wyandotte
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1994
Convicted:1994
Exonerated:2017
Sentence:Life
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:17
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No