Lawrence McKinney, now 60, was convicted of rape and burglary in 1978 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was sentenced to 115 years in prison, of which he served 31 before his convictions were overturned by DNA evidence in 2009. Not only was he not guilty — he was never even at the scene of the crime.
Upon his release from more than three decades of wrongful imprisonment, McKinney was compensated by the state of Tennessee with just $75. And since then, the Tennessee parole board has twice denied his request for an exoneration hearing that would make him eligible for compensation as high as $1 million.
McKinney, who now works at a church and hopes to become a preacher, is appealing directly to the governor of Tennessee, who can choose to exonerate him independently of the board's decision. "Being exonerated would put me on a standard with everyone else in society," McKinney said. "I didn't get a chance to build a career or buy a home. I lost all my 20s, 30s, and 40s, but I'm a servant of the Lord and any blessing I get I just want for my wife."