THE KANSAS CITY STAR.

No Justice

Locked up at 17, Lamonte McIntyre has been wrongfully imprisoned for 22 years, motion says

The killer, young and dressed in black, strode down the hill through the vacant lot without pausing.

A decrepit house had once stood on the rugged ground along Hutchings Street in Kansas City, Kan., but a cracked stairway was all that remained. The killer clasped a 12-gauge shotgun as he moved through overgrown weeds.

Neighbor Ruby Mitchell saw him coming. It was about 2 p.m. on April 15, 1994.

The 3000 block of Hutchings Street in Kansas City, Kan., where on April 15, 1994, two men sitting in a blue Cadillac were shot to death. The vehicle was parked on the near side of the street, just south of the utility pole. Several witnesses were across the street. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

She spied him through the door of her bungalow and thought she recognized him. Wasn’t he that boy — Lamonte something, she would tell police — who would come by to talk to her niece? She was so sure she almost called his name.

The victims were distant cousins Donald Ewing, left, and Doniel Quinn.

But then she watched him crouch and move to the passenger’s side of the powder-blue Cadillac idling across the street.

In the car sat two men with a crack pipe: Donald Ewing, 34, in the driver’s seat, and his distant cousin Doniel Quinn, 21.

Various Quinns were out and about on Hutchings Street that afternoon, one that would alter dozens of lives. Doniel’s father, John Quinn, was riding in another car and had just cruised past the Cadillac as the gunman came down the hill.

Doniel’s 21-year-old cousin, Niko Quinn, was just north of her house at 3018 Hutchings in the same block. Her mother, Josephine, was outside her home, two houses away, where she lived with another daughter, Stacy Quinn. All watched, gripped by shock, as the figure in black raised his shotgun.

Four walloping blasts echoed before the gunman fled the way he had come.

The car, its interior splattered with glass, bone and brains, rolled back 30 feet and stopped along the curb.

This crime scene photo shows the Cadillac in which Ewing and Quinn were fatally shot.

John Quinn’s car swung around and he jumped out. Stacy Quinn, watching from her door, burst outside and ran to the Cadillac. A ribbon of blood trailed down the street.

“That’s little Don! That’s little Don!” she screamed as John Quinn smashed in a window with the butt of a wine bottle in a vain attempt to reach his dying son.

Four hours later, a 17-year-old Wyandotte High School student named Lamonte McIntyre would get a call from his grandmother, who lived about a mile away.

The police are looking for you, she said.

Naming names

No one could have anticipated what the events of that day would trigger.

”He’s somebody’s son. He belongs to somebody. So that’s enough,” Doniel Quinn’s mother, Saundra Newsom, said of Lamonte McIntyre. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

But from the start, virtually everyone with an intimate connection to the case — from the family of the teenager who would get two life terms to the families of both victims — has cast the investigation, prosecution and outcome as an epic example of injustice.

For 22 years, members of all the families have resolutely maintained that an innocent man is in prison. Passionate in her belief, Doniel Quinn’s mother, Saundra Newsom, says she has always known that the man convicted of killing her only son is innocent. And it’s long past time, she said, that the laws of God and justice demand his release.

“He’s somebody’s son,” said Newsom, 65, rapping her hand on a table. “He’s somebody’s son. He belongs to somebody. So that’s enough. You don’t just put a nigger in jail because you found one. He belongs to somebody. His mother has a right to justice.”

Now comes the greatest effort yet to free him.

Stacked inside the Wyandotte County Courthouse are six thick volumes: Lamonte McIntyre v. State of Kansas. It is an amended motion for exoneration, filed with exhibits in July and now before a judge, that lays out the results of seven years of investigation.

Lamonte McIntyre’s lawyer, Cheryl Pilate, holds a police evidence photo as she stands near the crime scene. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

The work was done by a Kansas City area attorney, Cheryl Pilate, in league with Centurion Ministries, a nonprofit exoneration group in Princeton, N.J., that since 1980 has freed 54 wrongly convicted men and women who had been serving life terms or death row sentences.

Among them, in 2008, was Darryl Burton, now of Kansas City, who spent 24 years in prison for a St. Louis gas station murder he did not commit. Pilate and Centurion took up Burton’s cause.

The McIntyre motion now before the court sets forth an account of murder and legal misconduct at a time when drug use and homicides in Kansas City, Kan., were at historic highs. So, too, were feverish calls from the community for police to catch killers and for prosecutors to keep them behind bars.

In her written motion, Pilate names names of people of authority.

She maintains that throughout the investigation and trial, two chief players — the lead detective and an assistant Wyandotte County prosecutor — not only “failed to seek the truth” but also “consistently subverted and concealed the truth — manufacturing evidence and presenting testimony that they knew to be false.”

Roger Golubski

More than 15 affidavits — from criminals and their cronies to police — point to the detective, Roger Golubski, who retired as a captain in 2010 after 35 years on the force. Using terms like “crooked” and “dirty,” the sworn statements speak of a detective who preyed on black women, some of them prostitutes, using his access to illegal drugs and the power of his badge.

Retired FBI agent Alan Jennerich said in an affidavit that while investigating corruption among public officials and police officers in Kansas City, Kan., during his 26-year career, he became well-acquainted with Golubski’s reputation.

“He was a well-known detective,” Jennerich stated, “and, as my investigation uncovered, he used the authority of his position to extort sexual favors from black females. These women complied with his demands because they knew they would be arrested if they said no. … The women were powerless, and Golubski exploited them.”

In her affidavit, Ruby Ellington, a retired Kansas City, Kan., officer, said she worked as Golubski’s colleague for 25 years.

“Golubski made no secret of his activities,” she said. “…Golubski also used his prostitutes as his ‘informants.’ Once he had leverage or control over them, he could use that to obtain information for his cases from them, whether that information was true or not.”

Pilate, in her motion, maintains that Golubski likewise used his power to manipulate facts and witnesses leading to the false identification of Lamonte McIntyre.

After he left the Kansas City, Kan., department, Golubski became a police detective in Edwardsville. Hired in late 2010, he came “highly recommended” with no blemishes on his record, Police Chief Mark Mathies told The Star.

Golubski did not respond to messages left by The Star at his office and home.

His only public comment on the case came in August, soon after Pilate filed her motion. Golubski told The Pitch that he could not address the allegations without knowing more about them.

“There’s no misconduct, whatever these allegations are,” he said. As to the affidavits describing his pursuit and coercion of prostitutes as a Kansas City, Kan., police officer, he said, “We adamantly deny that.”

Golubski handed in his notice to retire from the Edwardsville department on Oct. 6, and his last day will be Sunday, Mathies said Thursday. He said Golubski wanted to spend more time with his family.

“We never received one complaint about his behavior,” Mathies said.

Terra Morehead

Pilate also says the assistant Wyandotte County prosecutor who handled the case, Terra Morehead — now a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office for Kansas — not only ignored two eyewitnesses who expressly told Morehead that McIntyre was not the shooter, but also “forced one of those two eyewitnesses to testify falsely by threatening to have her children taken away.”

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said Morehead would have no comment on the allegations while the McIntyre motion is before the court.

Pilate’s motion for exoneration raises other critical issues, including a possible breach of judicial ethics by Morehead and Wyandotte County District Judge J. Dexter Burdette, who presided over the McIntyre case and later appeals.

Some four years before the trial, Morehead and Burdette had been involved in a romantic relationship, but neither revealed that fact to McIntyre’s court-appointed defense lawyer. The relationship only came to light years later, in a different case, court records show.

Lawrence J. Fox, a lecturer on ethics at Yale Law School and a former chairman of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, said in an affidavit that by not recusing themselves from the case or revealing the relationship, “Judge Burdette and (Assistant District Attorney) Morehead violated their personal duties as officers of the court.”

“More importantly,” Fox said, “the concealed relationship obliterated any semblance of judicial impartiality in Mr. McIntyre’s trial and infected every aspect of these proceedings with implicit bias. As a result, Mr. McIntyre was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial.”

Burdette did not respond to a request for comment.

Last day of freedom

Lamonte McIntyre was a student at Donnelly College, enrolled in a program to get his GED.

On April 15, 1994, he skipped school — the worst mistake of his life.

Lamonte McIntyre’s police mug shot

The night before, he had slept as he often did at the home of an aunt, Peggy Crowder, at 15th Street and Walker Avenue. His other aunt, Yolanda Johnson, and his cousins lived right behind Aunt Peggy. All day, McIntyre and his cousins had done little more than hang out and watch television.

At trial, five family members would testify that McIntyre had been with them all day except for brief times, earlier in the day, when he went to a store and out with his mother.

The police said they just want to talk to you, ask some questions, McIntyre’s grandmother recalled telling him over the phone.

The only reason he could think police might be looking for him: He’d recently gotten caught carrying a small amount of drugs with the intent to sell, and was scheduled to spend some time in juvenile detention. Perhaps they were calling about that.

So McIntyre phoned his mother, Rose McIntyre, who was working as a cook at FiFi’s Diner at Fifth Street and Parallel Parkway.

She picked up her son, and they headed for the police station. On the way, she saw a police car parked at FiFi’s and stopped.

“I introduced myself,” she recalled recently. “…They said, ‘OK, go back and sit in the car.’ All of a sudden, a lot of cars came, a lot of cop cars.

“When they get there, they ask my son to get out of the car. They start talking to him. And they said, give him 15 minutes and I can come get him.

“When I came to get him, he said, ‘Mama, they charged me with two counts of murder!’”

It was his last day of freedom.

This article was published April 17, 1994, in the Kansas City Kansan about the double murder for which Lamonte McIntyre was sent to prison.

‘I wasn’t really scared’

Lamonte McIntyre is 40 now. He has spent 22 years behind bars.

For 18 of them, he has been held in the Lansing Correctional Facility, a state prison marked by stone guard towers and encircled by fences and gleaming razor wire.

All that one associates with prison — rape, murder, suicide — all of it, McIntyre said, is true.

“It is the worst thing you can possibly imagine. It’s that and more,” he told The Star.

After receiving two consecutive life sentences, Lamonte McIntyre has been imprisoned for 22 years, including nearly 18 in the Lansing Correctional Facility. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

McIntyre’s voice was measured as he sat in a white prison shirt and blue prison jeans, talking across a conference table in a visiting room.

At 5-foot-11, he is lean and muscular. Large tattoos cover the inside of both forearms to his elbows — the face of Jesus on his left, the Statue of Liberty, blinded like Lady Justice, along his right. He pulled up his sleeves to show an angel on each shoulder.

“I have to protect myself somehow,” he said.

Pleading not guilty, McIntyre went to trial on Sept. 26, 1994. It would last four days. Because of the seriousness of the crime, he was tried as an adult.

His court-appointed lawyer, Gary Long, had never tried a double-murder case, but McIntyre felt confident.

“I wasn’t really scared or worried,” he said. “I was innocent. … I thought, ‘The truth will come out, and everything will be OK.’”

Only later did McIntyre question his lawyer’s competence. In 1992, records show, the Kansas Supreme Court had “informally admonished” Long for failing to diligently pursue a client’s discrimination action.

Then, between the time he took on the McIntyre case and the day it went to trial, Long was further disciplined for failing to “competently and diligently” handle three clients’ cases. While defending McIntyre, he was on two years of supervised probation.

Three years after McIntyre was sentenced, Long was suspended from law practice for a year for failure to competently handle another criminal case and a real estate matter. Six months later, in March 1998, he was disbarred. He did not regain his license until 2015.

Over the years, McIntyre would make three attempts to get his conviction reversed.

The first was a direct appeal after he was sentenced. The Kansas Supreme Court denied it. A new attorney in 1996 filed a motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. Burdette denied it. When McIntyre appealed, the Kansas Supreme Court also denied him a new trial.

In 1997, McIntyre filed a motion arguing that he had received ineffective assistance from Long. Burdette again denied his claim for a new trial.

“I’m convinced that the defendant got adequate assistance of counsel,” Burdette ruled. “…Defendant’s not entitled to the best attorney available. He’s not entitled to the worst attorney available. He’s entitled to adequate assistance of counsel and … he got that, and I’m convinced that he got that.”

Lamonte McIntyre

Physical evidence?

This crime scene photo shows spent shotgun shells along Hutchings Street.

Eight men and four women sat on McIntyre’s jury.

Morehead presented her case first, focusing on the little evidence she had. What she did not have was considerable.

No gun. No motive. No evidence that McIntyre knew the victims. No fingerprints from the shotgun shell casings left at the scene. No blood-spattered shoes, socks, pants or shirt. No physical evidence of any kind linking McIntyre to the crime.

Nor was there any sign that police had tried to find such evidence; Golubski sought no search warrants in the case. Police never searched McIntyre’s home or the homes of his aunts.

Part of the current motion to exonerate McIntyre is a 2016 affidavit — a point-by-point analysis of Golubski’s investigation — prepared by Randy Eskina, a former homicide and special enforcement detective with the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department. He retired in 2012 as a captain after 31 years; he and Golubski were fellow officers.

The motion to exonerate Lamonte McIntyre includes this photo of an evidence bag containing shotgun shell casings.

Among Eskina’s conclusions:

“The manner in which the investigation was conducted in the McIntyre case causes me to conclude that there might have been very little supervision of Detective Golubski because so little actual investigation was done, and the investigation that was conducted was done poorly or not according to generally accepted police practices.”

The affidavit catalogs page after page of investigative failures: “failures, errors and lapses in interviewing witnesses”; “failure … to take any steps to see if the witnesses’ accounts could be corroborated with any other evidence”; “failure to develop any evidence of a motive for the crime or to investigate the background of the victims”; “failure to seize Mr. McIntyre’s clothing when he was arrested shortly after the shooting, as the clothing of the suspected shooter would have obvious evidentiary value and may have had physical evidence on it.”

Eskina’s 17-page analysis concludes: “In my opinion, the investigation in this case was grossly deficient. … Had I been in charge of this case, I would not have submitted it to the District Attorney’s Office unless and until substantial additional evidence corroborated the accounts of the two witnesses.”

At trial, Morehead’s case against McIntyre centered on exactly that — two eyewitnesses.

First eyewitness

Niko Quinn — who was near the side of her cousin, Doniel, as he gasped his dying breaths — was the first to take the stand, a witness for the prosecution.

She testified about how she watched the shooter move down the hill, fire his shotgun and send everyone on the block into panic. Her sister Stacy came running and shouted, “Oh, my God, it’s little Don!”

Her uncle smashed in a driver’s side window. She walked up to the car.

“What position were they in when you saw them?” Morehead asked.

Donald Ewing, her older and more distant cousin, was slumped toward the passenger’s seat, Quinn said.

“But little Don,” she said, “was sitting up and taking his last breaths. … Everybody was just telling him to hold on.”

Yes, she had seen the shooter. One day later, after McIntyre’s arrest, Golubski and another officer came to her home with five photographs of young black men. Golubski asked her whether she recognized any as the shooter.

Lamonte McIntyre was photo No. 3 in this array that police showed to eyewitnesses.

Photo No. 3 stood out. “I just thought, ‘Oh, God, it’s him,’” Quinn testified.

But at the time, she testified, she kept that thought to herself. Fearful of what identifying the shooter might spark, she did not tell Golubski she recognized the face.

“I didn’t say nothing. I just told him I didn’t know,” she testified.

On cross-examination, Quinn conceded that at least a week passed before she contacted Golubski and identified No. 3 as her cousins’ killer. She would later learn that No. 3 was McIntyre.

“Miss Quinn,” the prosecutor said, “is there any doubt in your mind but that Lamonte McIntyre sitting here is the man that you saw shoot into that car on April 15th?”

“No,” Quinn said.

‘Not the man’

For 22 years, from almost the moment she stepped off the witness stand, Niko Quinn has known something else beyond doubt: She lied.

Certain of McIntyre’s innocence, she has signed two affidavits. One stretches back to 1996, when her recanted testimony was offered in the motion for a new trial. The other was signed in 2014.

A view of Hutchings Street, looking north, on the day of the crime.

Both tell her tale as a witness, wanting justice for her murdered cousins but feeling pressured by Golubski and Morehead into testifying falsely against a man she knew to be innocent.

“I knew then, and I know now, that Lamonte McIntyre was not the man who shot Doniel and Don,” Quinn wrote in 2014.

In the documents, she recounts the general details of the crime as she gave them at trial.

Her story changes, however, regarding when Golubski and his colleague came to her house with the five photos. Golubski pressured her to make an identification, she says. Her affidavit says Golubski told her that police had arrested the shooter and had the weapon. (No gun, in fact, was recovered.)

She recalled the other officer having his thumb on one photo, as if pointing it out, her affidavit says. She recalled seeing the name “Lamonte,” the same name she had heard the day before from her neighbor, Ruby Mitchell. The name was on the back of the photo.

“But I told him (Golubski) I wasn’t sure and could not make an identification,” Quinn’s affidavit says.

Weeks later, her 2014 document says, she called Golubski about men hanging out in a lot behind her house. She met Golubski behind the Wyandotte High School track. He again pressured her for a photo ID of her cousins’ killer, her affidavit says. She relented, thinking McIntyre resembled the shooter.

Among the “failures” noted in Eskina’s affidavit: Golubski made no written report of his meeting with Quinn behind the school. No written report exists of her identification of McIntyre.

In her affidavits, Quinn also maintains that she told prosecutor Morehead that McIntyre was not the killer.

“When I came to the courthouse to testify, I saw Lamonte McIntyre. As soon as I saw him stand up in the courtroom, I realized that he absolutely could not be the shooter,” Quinn’s affidavit says.

When she was interviewed by police, she had described the shooter as 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7. McIntyre clearly was not.

“He was much taller than the shooter,” her affidavit says. “Also, his ears are too large and stick out too far away from his face.”

“Nikki lied,” said Gloria Labat, aunt to murder victim Donald Ewing. Eyewitness Niko Quinn later said her testimony against McIntyre was coerced. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

When she alerted Morehead about her concerns, she said in her affidavits, she felt threatened.

“I talked to the prosecutor … and told her twice that Lamonte McIntyre was not the shooter, that the police had the wrong man,” Quinn’s affidavit reads. “Ms. Morehead dismissed my statement and told me that I could be held in contempt and go to jail and have my children taken away.”

After her testimony, Quinn ran into Gloria Labat, an aunt of Donald Ewing.

“Nikki lied,” Labat said in a recent telephone interview with The Star, using a nickname for Niko. “He’s innocent.”

In that interview and in a 1997 affidavit, Labat says Quinn confessed to her in the courthouse corridor.

The affidavit: “I spoke to Nikki at the courthouse immediately after her testimony. She told me that her testimony identifying Lamonte as the shooter was false; that it was a lie. She told me that he was not the person who did this.

“I told Nikki that she had to go to the police or the prosecutor. … She responded that she did tell them that, and that’s when they threatened to take her kids away if she didn’t stick to her testimony.”

Niko Quinn’s mother, Josephine Quinn, said in a 1997 affidavit that she, too, tried to tell Morehead.

Josephine Quinn stated that she had gone to the court to testify. Morehead, she said, told her she wouldn’t be needed. But that day in court, Josephine Quinn saw McIntyre for the first time.

She saw Morehead the next day. “I told her he was not the one who killed my nephew,” Josephine Quinn says in her affidavit. “He was too tall, his lips protruded too much and his complexion was too dark.

“…Ms. Morehead told me it was too late for her to do anything, that the jury was deliberating. It was in the hands of the jury.”

Second eyewitness

Morehead’s second eyewitness: Ruby Mitchell.

Then 27 and the mother of a 5-year-old son, Mitchell was the one who stood watching from her door as the two men were murdered.

The shooter looked so familiar, like the guy who hung out with her niece, that she nearly called out his name, Lamonte.

Like Niko Quinn, Mitchell’s testimony at trial was absolute.

“Today in court is there any doubt in your mind but that this is the individual who shot into that car on April 15th?” the prosecutor asked.

On the day of the shooting, Mitchell told police the shooter was 5-foot-6. In court, she nonetheless pointed out McIntyre, who was just under 6 feet tall.

“No,” Mitchell said.

Pilate and the Centurion investigators argue that one key reason their client is in prison is that no one questioned what Mitchell had to say.

Police at the crime scene on Hutchings Street.

It was Mitchell’s observation on the day of the crime, they say, that gave investigators a faulty lead, the name Lamonte, that would send them off to wrongly identify, arrest, try and convict Lamonte McIntyre.

At trial, Mitchell testified that she was standing at her front door when saw the shooter.

Morehead: “Did you, at that point in time, recognize this individual?”

Mitchell: “Yes.”

Morehead: “And tell me who you recognized this individual (as)?”

Mitchell: “As Lamonte.”

Morehead: “And how do you know this individual named Lamonte?”

Mitchell: “’Cause he used to talk to my niece.”

She testified that while at the crime scene, she initially did not mention the name Lamonte to police. Instead, she was taken to police headquarters to help police create a suspect sketch.

At trial, Mitchell never was asked exactly when she gave police the name Lamonte. Golubski, who testified later, would say it was around the time the sketch was being created.

Mitchell testified that at the police station later that night, Golubski brought her an array of five photos, with no names showing. She pointed to No. 3.

“Could you turn that photograph over and tell me the name that appears on the photograph?” Morehead asked her.

Mitchell flipped it.

“Lamonte McIntyre,” she said.

The prosecutor’s next question: “Is that the Lamonte who dated your niece, or that you knew was acquainted with your niece?”

Mitchell: “No.”

Indeed — as would be discovered only after McIntyre had been swiftly arrested and charged — the Lamonte who knew Mitchell’s niece was a different Lamonte: Lamonte Drain. He was out of town when the crime occurred.

Mitchell hadn’t previously known Lamonte McIntyre, she would testify. She had never seen him, had never heard his name.

When Morehead asked whether she recognized the shooter among the five photos, Mitchell said, she was simply going by his appearance.

“That is the face that I saw at the shooting,” she testified.

Morehead pressed her witness.

“The Lamonte that dated or that knew your niece: Tell me, are there any differences between him and the individual in that picture?” she asked.

The only difference, Mitchell testified, was that the Lamonte she knew had longer hair than Lamonte McIntyre in the photo. In an affidavit signed in 2011, she would attest that both the Lamonte she knew and the shooter she saw on that day had French braids, and she did not know why the sketch artist had not included them. (Lamonte McIntyre did not wear French braids.)

“OK,” Morehead said. “Now, as far as their facial characteristics: Are they identical twins, Miss Mitchell?”

Mitchell: “Yes, they look alike.”

Morehead: “Do you know what identical twins are? … Somebody that if you looked in the mirror, you saw they look exactly alike?”

Mitchell: “They do look alike.”

Morehead: “OK. What I’m asking, though, is, exactly alike?”

Mitchell: “Yes.”

The other Lamonte

The exonerators hold that the “other Lamonte” narrative raises massive questions about the investigation, calling into question the entire path to Lamonte McIntyre’s conviction and consecutive life sentences.

Why, if Ruby Mitchell said the shooter looked like the Lamonte who knew her niece, did police not first seek out Mitchell’s niece and interview that Lamonte?

“Listen,” said Jim McCloskey, who founded Centurion Ministries and has worked on the McIntyre case since 2009. “The first thing you have to do, if you’re Roger Golubski: When she (Ruby Mitchell) made her identification of Lamonte — ‘this is the man, this is the man who dated my niece’ — what do you do if you’re an investigator?

“You ask, ‘Who’s your niece? What’s her name?’ You go and talk to her immediately. Find out who she’s been dating: Lamonte Drain. And then you go and interview Lamonte Drain.”

Records show that Golubski did take a short statement from Mitchell’s niece — five months after McIntyre’s arrest and just days before his trial.

“Do you know who the first person in the history of this case was to interview Lamonte Drain?” an exasperated McCloskey asked recently. “Me.”

Pilate, in her motion, also raises the linchpin question of how the name McIntyre came into the case at all.

Lamonte McIntyre, she notes, was not the Lamonte whom Mitchell knew. Mitchell knew no last name to give police on the day the men were killed.

At trial, Morehead asked Mitchell directly.

“This individual seated over here: Prior to April 15th of 1994, have you ever seen that individual before?”

“No,” Mitchell testified.

When Golubski took the stand later, he testified that after Mitchell provided the first name Lamonte, other officers began to hear from “various sources” that the last name was McIntyre.

When Morehead made her opening statement to the jurors, she told them that “confidential informants” and “numerous reliable sources” had given the name Lamonte McIntyre.

When the prosecutor asked Golubski, “How did the name Lamonte McIntyre become known to the police department?” Long, McIntyre’s defense lawyer, objected. The judge called the attorneys to his bench for a discussion.

Long argued that allowing Golubski to bring up anonymous “confidential informants” was “classic hearsay.” Who are they? How credible are they? There’s no way to cross-examine them or get at the truth of what they say.

Morehead was prepared. “I have three cases on point,” she said, that argued such testimony was admissible. She began citing them.

“I haven’t read any of those cases yet, your honor,” Long said.

Burdette sent the jury from the courtroom. The discussion went on. In the end, the judge said he would allow Golubski to testify about “numerous sources,” so long as he kept the term vague.

Burdette turned to Long.

“And if you want to get into that on cross-examination,” the judge said, “I will certainly allow you.”

“I don’t think I will, your honor,” Long replied.

“Sir?” Burdette said.

Long repeated, “I don’t think I will, your honor.”

Golubski, on the stand, said police got Lamonte McIntyre’s name from “various sources.”

Mitchell’s photo identification followed. At the time of McIntyre’s arrest, her ID was the only evidence police had.

Kansas City lawyer Cheryl Pilate has been working with Centurion Ministries for seven years to exonerate Lamonte McIntyre. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

‘He used to talk to my niece’

The exonerators hold that no “various sources” existed. Nothing, they say, is documented in any police investigative file to suggest they did.

“Golubski’s report and every other report in the file is completely silent as to how Lamonte McIntyre became a suspect,” Pilate wrote.

The inference is clear: “Golubski just decided he wanted to clear this case and move on,” McCloskey told The Star.

Golubski was given the name Lamonte. He had a sketch. He told the judge during a trial sidebar discussion that he got both the “name and photo” of McIntyre from the assistant prosecutor who handled juvenile cases. He then included the photo in the array he showed Mitchell.

But in a telephone interview with The Star, the assistant prosecutor, Vicki Meyer, who is now a domestic violence prosecutor for Kansas City, Kan., said, “I never kept photo lineup pictures in my office.”

Meyer did not recall the McIntyre case. She said it is possible that if an officer came to her with a name, such as Lamonte, she might have provided the first and last names of various Lamontes in their system. She would then refer the officer to the juvenile detention center to get any photos for a lineup.

Golubski’s lineup included only one Lamonte.

Mitchell testified that no one told her or guided her regarding which picture to choose. Although she allegedly was never told that No. 3 was Lamonte McIntyre, she somehow conjured that name — the name of a man she’d never known.

Pilate’s motion includes a transcript of Golubski’s taped interview with Mitchell on the night of the murder. The transcript was never presented at trial.

5:58 p.m., April 15, 1994.

Golubski: “Ms. Mitchell, did you tell me that after we took your statement that you almost called out a name when you saw the man run down the hill?”

Mitchell: “Yes.”

“What name did you almost call out?”

“Lamonte.”

“Why did you almost yell Lamonte?”

“Because he used to try to talk to my niece and I knew him.”

“When you got to headquarters did we show you a series of five pictures?”

“Yes.”

“Is there a number on that picture?”

“Yes.”

“What is the number?”

“Number three.”

“Are you absolutely sure this is the party who did the shooting?”

“Yes.”

“Who is this party?”

“Lamonte.”

“Do you know his last name?”

“Yes.”

“What is it?”

“McIntyre.”

“How do you know this party?”

“Because,” Mitchell said, “he used to talk to my niece.”

“In most cases,” said McCloskey of Centurion, “we do encounter police and/or prosecutorial misconduct as well as ineffective counsel. In this particular case … this has reached a whole deeper level of outrageous ineptness and corruption.”

In her 2011 affidavit, Mitchell added a concern: Golubski’s sexual advances.

“On that afternoon of the crime,” her affidavit reads, “while I was being driven to the police station in a police car, Detective Golubski made some very unsettling comments to me.

“He told me that he thought I was pretty and had a nice figure. He said he liked to go out with black women. He asked me if I had a boyfriend and did I date white men. … I was afraid of what Detective Golubski had in mind.

“Was he going to arrest me for solicitation, or was he going to offer me money for sex, I wondered.”

In the end, she said, nothing happened.

‘I’m innocent’

The judge entered.

“Please be seated, ladies and gentlemen,” Burdette said. “Let the record reflect the jury, including the alternate, is present as well as the defendant and counsel. … It’s my understanding that you have reached a verdict.”

McIntyre, now 18, faced two consecutive life sentences.

He felt dizzy.

His attorney had presented an alibi defense: Five family members swore he was with family all day.

“I don’t believe, I don’t believe this, man!” McIntyre said as each juror affirmed the verdicts.

At his January sentencing four months later, McIntyre spoke 13 words.

“Judge, I would like to tell the court that I’m innocent. That’s all.”

In her closing arguments, Morehead had focused on the consistency of testimony from Niko Quinn and Mitchell.

Many studies have demonstrated the unreliability of eyewitness identification. One study that looked at death-row inmates who were later exonerated found that more than half were convicted based on faulty eyewitness accounts.

In Kansas, judges can give a cautionary instruction to jurors that provides factors they should weigh when considering eyewitness testimony, such as the length of time the witness had to view the perpetrator, the witness’ certainty and consistency in making the ID.

McIntyre’s lawyer didn’t request the instruction, nor did the judge give one.

Long, in his closing argument, focused on the confusion over identifying two Lamontes. He cited the lack of any physical evidence, plus the lack of effort by police to obtain it.

“They didn’t try to find a shotgun. They didn’t try to find the clothes,” Long said. “…They didn’t even try. They didn’t care. … They haven’t brought you anybody in here that can show this man even knew who these people were.”

"I had a feeling that black lives didn't matter at this trial," said Greg Lauber, 62, of Kansas City, Kan., who was a juror at Lamonte McIntyre’s trial. Lauber has said recently that he regretted his vote to convict McIntyre. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

Doubt gnawed at juror Greg Lauber’s gut as he entered the deliberation room.

So much evidence was missing, he thought. He still puzzled over how McIntyre had become a suspect. And he was flabbergasted that the police had made no attempt to lift fingerprints from the shell casings.

“That was a big deal to me,” he told The Star recently.

Lauber recalled thinking that the police got their two witnesses and they were done. He said the thought crossed his mind, “Were they just looking for a black guy named Lamonte?”

But he also thought the court-appointed defense was terribly weak. Long had barely challenged the state’s witnesses, he thought. On the other hand, the state’s case seemed gossamer thin.

“I thought he was probably guilty,” Lauber said. “But I felt he was the victim of a bad defense and sloppy police work.”

Not so most of his fellow jurors.

As deliberations dragged on, Lauber found himself on the short side of a 10-2 vote to convict. For 22 years, he said, he’s been ashamed of what he did next.

“I caved,” he said. He and the other juror changed their votes to make it unanimous for guilt. “…I took the easy way out.”

Uneasy about the verdict, Lauber said he called Morehead a few months later to ask whether she’d had additional evidence that wasn’t presented to the jury.

Morehead, he recalled, said there was “plenty” and he should rest easy: McIntyre was guilty.

Lauber has long been convinced that McIntyre is innocent.

Monster

Another injustice, the exonerators say, is that so many clues existed to find the actual killer had Golubski and the rest done their jobs.

The motion to exonerate Lamonte McIntyre includes this mug shot of Neil Edgar Jr., whose nickname was “Monster.”

Neil Edgar Jr. was called “Monster” from the time he was a child.

He is the oldest son of the senior Neil Edgar and Christy Edgar, the founders of a church in Kansas City, Kan. The couple would become notorious in 2003 for the torturous abuse that led to the death of their adopted 9-year-old son, Brian. Both parents are now serving life sentences in Kansas prisons.

Nearly all the relatives of Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing say they have known for years that Monster killed the cousins.

“This was a drug hit,” McCloskey said. “Plain and simple, this was a drug execution.”

To be sure, Saundra Newsom prefers to remember her son, Doniel, for the good inside him: a charmer, loyal. His girlfriend had recently had his baby, a 6-month-old boy who brought him joy.

“He’d make you laugh to where there were tears running down your face,” his sister, Marsheil Kendrick, said.

Donald Ewing, who had stomach cancer when he was killed, had his good side, too, his aunt said.

“He had compassion for people,” Labat said. He visited and cared for his aging mother most every day.

Labat’s understanding is that, on the day of the murders, Ewing was an innocent victim. He had seen Doniel and just picked him up to give him a ride.

Neil Edgar Jr. is now in prison in Missouri for a 2000 murder.

Both the cousins, however, struggled with drugs. Young Doniel was in deep.

He worked as a doorman at a drug house on 21st Street south of Quindaro Boulevard that was run by a dealer who has since been murdered, Aaron Robinson, along with Cecil Brooks, Robinson’s older cousin.

The word on the street, according to new sworn affidavits and other information gathered by the Centurion investigators, is that Doniel Quinn was being accused of stealing drugs from Robinson.

Robinson’s enforcer was Edgar Jr., who — although just shy of his 16th birthday in April 1994 — had already earned a vicious reputation. He was 5-foot-7 and wore his hair in French braids.

Edgar is serving a 33-year sentence in a Missouri prison for the August 2000 murder of Anthony Conley, a young man Edgar had seen with a former girlfriend. He shot Conley in the head three times, dumped his body in the trunk of a car and set it on fire.

“Monster was the kind of person who would do anything, and he loved my cousin, Aaron,” Brooks said in an affidavit signed in June. “He would do whatever Aaron wanted him to do.”

Sentenced in 2009, Brooks is in federal prison serving an 18-year sentence for distributing cocaine.

“Monster did the murders,” Brooks attests in his affidavit. “I know Monster did it because Aaron told me Monster was the shooter.”

Edgar did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Brooks said Edgar was to be paid $500 for the killing. In another affidavit, a former friend states that Edgar claimed he had stolen drugs from Robinson and planned to blame Doniel Quinn.

“Monster assured Aaron that he didn’t have to worry about the situation, that he … would take care of the Quinn boys,” the affidavit reads.

Robinson’s first cousin, Joe Robinson, spoke up in an affidavit signed in 2011.

“Monster knew Aaron wanted Doniel to pay for breaking into the stash house and stealing drugs,” his affidavit reads. “…Monster was the one who shot and killed Doniel and the other Quinn. Doniel was the intended victim and the other Quinn was a freebie.”

Rose McIntyre (left) talks with Cheryl Pilate, a lawyer who represents Rose’s son, Lamonte McIntyre. In the background is Rose’s mother, Maxine Crowder. Tammy Ljungblad | tljungblad@kcstar.com

No rest, no peace

Clues were there, the exonerators say.

Doniel’s father, John Quinn, had told Golubski that his son seemed worried and was hanging around bad characters.

“What type of people was he hanging out with?” Golubski had asked.

“The worst kind,” John Quinn said.

“And which is, in your opinion, what?” Golubski said.

“A cobra snake with any kind of bite would be instant death,” Quinn answered.

But Golubski didn’t conduct that interview until four days after Lamonte McIntyre’s arrest.

Niko Quinn, in her 2014 affidavit, said she also tried to tell police that Doniel was in trouble.

“I remember that, after Doniel was beaten up, he came over to my house and told me … that Aaron Robinson and some of his boys had beaten him up because they suspected he had stolen drugs from them.”

And Stacy Quinn, who saw Doniel take his last breath, also reportedly knew who the shooter was.

“I remember Stacy saying something to the effect of, ‘I know who did it,’” one of her aunts, Freda Quinn, reported in a 2011 affidavit.

Although police knew her to be an eyewitness, Stacy Quinn was never interviewed; Golubski reported she was “not available” the day after the murders.

“The failure of detectives to interview Stacy is inexplicable” as she was the witness with the best view of the shooter, Pilate wrote in her motion.

Beyond that, Freda Quinn noted in her 2016 affidavit, most everyone in the family knew that Stacy Quinn had been having a sexual relationship with Golubski since the mid-1980s, when Stacy was 16 or 17 years old. That relationship lasted, Freda Quinn said, until Stacy was murdered, shot 13 times on a Kansas City, Kan., street.

“When Stacy was murdered in 2000,” the aunt’s affidavit reads, “it was Detective Golubski who investigated her death.”

Golubksi investigated Stacy Quinn’s murder with his colleague Terry Zeigler, now the city’s chief of police.

“After she was killed,” Freda Quinn attested in her affidavit, “he (Golubski) came to the house. … He said the police needed someone to identify her. I became very upset. … I said to him, ‘You know whether or not it’s her. You’ve been fooling with her all these years.’”

Zeigler said in an email to The Star that he was unaware of any alleged relationship between Golubski and Stacy Quinn. During the time he worked with Golubski in homicide, Zeigler said, “he was a professional and I never witnessed any actions on his part that caused me concern.”

In 1996, Stacy Quinn tried to tell the court that McIntyre was innocent. She testified at a hearing in front of Judge Burdette as part of the motion for a new trial. She was in jail at the time on a probation violation for theft. She also was a drug user.

She told the court that the killer was 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7. McIntyre, she said, was too tall, and his facial features were different.

“I know that ain’t him,” she testified.

But she was weak in recalling some details of the crime. She testified, for example, that she recalled hearing seven to nine shots. Because her name had previously been in records and available to the defense, Burdette did not consider her to be a new witness. Nor did he believe her.

“She is a felon. She’s a habitual drug user,” the judge said. “I find it incredible, frankly … that someone who watched their relatives (be) murdered” would not say anything for two years.

In 1997, convinced of McIntyre’s innocence, Stacy Quinn signed an affidavit.

“I have seen the shooter on the streets,” it reads.

In his affidavit, Brooks said, “The guy who got convicted for these murders had nothing to do with it. None of us had ever heard of him. … Maybe we should have stepped up and done something, but that wasn’t how it worked.”

The Wyandotte County District Court has recused itself from the case, which has been placed before Senior Judge Edward E. Bouker, the retired chief district judge of Ellis County District Court in Hays. He will decide whether to set a hearing to reconsider McIntyre’s conviction.

“I just want the door open and for my son to be able to walk out of it,” Rose McIntyre told The Star. “Regain our life, stop living this nightmare we live every day. Because there is no rest. … No peace.”

And no justice, Pilate said.

“Lamonte has been subjected to a living nightmare,” she said. “…His entire family has been victimized … their lives put on hold for the last 22 years as they’ve tried to rectify this terrible injustice.

“And the family of the victims had no justice. They got something that was purported to be justice, but it was fake justice. Any careful review of the trial record, even a glance at our affidavits, would convince any reasonable person that the wrong man was convicted.”

McIntyre, meanwhile, is confident the truth will make itself apparent.

“I know everything is going to work out the way it’s meant to work out,” he told The Star. “I’m just biding my time and trying to be patient.”

He is certain that one day he will be free.

“I have no doubt about that,” he said.

The Star’s Tony Rizzo contributed to this story.
Eric Adler: 816-234-4431, @eadler