Innocent man has record wiped clean after 31 years in prison - WSMV Channel 4

Innocent man has record wiped clean after 31 years in prison

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Lawrence McKinney Lawrence McKinney

An innocent man imprisoned for 31 years, who has been trying to get his record cleared since he was released four years ago, finally got his day in court Monday and is now a man without a criminal record.

Lawrence McKinney had been falsely accused of rape and burglary in 1977 in Memphis.

DNA evidence showed he was never on the scene and had nothing to do with the crime, and 31 years into the sentence, the district attorney and judge released him from custody.

But getting his record wiped clean had been a much more difficult struggle.

The Memphis district attorney had McKinney's record expunged on Monday.

McKinney and his wife, Dorothy, have been waiting for this day for years. It was such big news that people from Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon left work just to come and congratulate him.

"It was done in 15 seconds. Thirty-five years of wrongfully labeling this man was undone in 15 seconds. There really is a sermon there. It was very emotional. It's like a family member's been freed," said the Rev. John Hunn of Immanuel Baptist Church.

McKinney attends Bible study five days a week and can now go on a mission trip with Immanuel Baptist Church that before he could only dream about.

Plus, he can now vote again.

"He has had a hard life," Dorothy McKinney said. "He just went through everything and then he couldn't get a job. My children think there is nothing like him. They call him 'Pops.' I never thought I'd meet anybody like him. He is just different. I like to think God saved him just for me."

Lawrence McKinney first walked into Immanuel Baptist Church on a Wednesday night, and things really changed after that. Hunn got him a job at Lifeway Christian Resources, everyone learned his story and witnessed his grace and, now, they see his triumph.

"You got to walk and put God in your heart. You put love in your heart, God can turn bad into good," Lawrence McKinney said.

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