NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lawrence McKinney has spent the majority of his life locked behind bars after he was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for over thirty years.
“I missed a lot. I missed all my 20s, all my 30s, all my 40s. I don’t know where I could have been,” McKinney said.
For 31 years, McKinney was wrongfully imprisoned, accused of rape and burglary in Memphis, but in 2009 he was cleared and released through a DNA test.
McKinney isn’t angry, instead he is thankful, because he found God.
“Thirty-one years of prison has just forged him in to a remarkable man of faith. He’s not mad, he’s not angry and if you ask him why he will say, ‘I don’t have time to be mad and angry. You know, I lost too much time,’ and I use him for people to look to,” McKinney’s Pastor John Hunn said.
Inside his second home, Immanuel Baptist Church, Hunn focused the service on thanks and prayer for McKinney.
“We want to be thankful that he’s out of prison, thankful that he’s from Shelby County but he came to our county, thankful that his record was expunged and then prayerful that the process will be complete.”
McKinney’s fight is still not over. While he was set free and eventually his record expunged, he would still like restitution but his case has not been officially exonerated.
“Why do I have to go through all this type of struggle?” McKinney asked.
It’s a question McKinney’s family and friends don’t have answers to, but he’s not worried about the past.
“As long as I got Christ with me I realize this ain’t my home and I’ve been born again.”
McKinney recently learned he could apply again for exoneration, which would allow him to apply for financial compensation based on wrongful imprisonment.