As he had at many other rallies and vigils, Eric Calvin told a crowd gathered outside the Wyandotte County Courthouse last October how a former police detective victimized his family.
“The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department destroyed my family, but it only makes us stronger,” he said. “My sister Rose Calvin’s murder remains unsolved and my brother, John Calvin, is in prison serving someone else’s time.”
But on Wednesday, Eric’s brother John Keith Calvin, 56, lost the battle with time and died at El Dorado Correctional Center, while maintaining his innocence. He was only four months old before he was eligible for parole.
“I’m so hurt,” John Keith Calvin’s other sister Mamie Wright said on Thursday. A statement from Calvin’s lawyers said the family was “devastated.”
“John Keith Calvin died an innocent man,” his lawyers’ statement read. “Everyone knew about it and a whole community fought for him. John Calvin will have a long legacy and his fight against injustice will continue”.
The family publicly requested in December for compassionate release for John Keith due to his stage 4 colon cancer, which had been discovered weeks earlier. His attorneys say the Kansas Department of Corrections failed to adequately treat the cancer, saying he was emaciated and in terrible pain.
The Calvin family has been tireless in demanding accountability for the alleged crimes of Roger Golubski, a former KCKPD detective who now faces federal charges of rape, kidnapping and protecting an underage sex trafficking operation. The unified government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, in June agreed to settle a case involving Golubski for $12.5 million.
Golubski is being monitored electronically at his Edwardsville home and is expected to return to court in mid-March.
The family believes Golubski engaged in a sexual relationship and supplied drugs to Rose Calvin, whose 1996 murder remains unsolved. They also believe it is somehow connected to the murder of Rose, who was 31 when she was killed.
The Calvin family also alleges that Golubski played a role in allegedly framing John Keith Calvin, convicted of first-degree murder and attempted robbery in the 2002 killing of a man in the KCK. The killer in that case, Melvin White, confessed to KCTV that he was responsible and that John Keith Calvin was innocent.
News of John Keith’s death spread quickly via social media and through the Golubski victim community. Ophelia Williams, identified as OW in the original indictment against Golubski, said she was repeatedly raped by the detective during the 1990s when she was investigating the murder of her children.
On Thursday, Williams questioned why John Keith should remain in jail when Golubski was allowed out in home detention. Williams said she was really hurt and saddened by her passing.
“They didn’t let him out, so he died in prison,” she said. “They killed him. That’s how I feel.”
Cheryl Pilate, one of Calvin’s attorneys, said they are considering a number of legal options, including posthumous release, either through the courts or through enforcement action through the governor’s office.
“We are also continuing to look closely at issues relating to John Keith Calvin’s diagnosis, medical treatment in prison and the circumstances of his death,” Pilato said in an email.
David Thompson, KDOC’s public information officer, said the department “did everything in its power to make John’s end of life care as comfortable as possible for him and his family. However, the agency was limited by law as to what we could do more than they did in John’s particular case.”
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum denied Calvin’s emergency request for better assistance and a chance to meet with his attorneys. Lungstrum said Calvin had not exhausted his means to get help through the system and urged Calvin’s attorneys and KDOC to work together.