A man from Kansas City, Kansas, who says he has been wrongfully jailed for 25 years he learned on Friday that he will be released on parole in four months.
Although Brian Betts and his attorneys were unable to get a retrial to clear his name, his family was thrilled at the news of his release. Betts’ sister Violet Martin said he called at noon to break the news to her and their mother, Ellen Betts. They screamed and thanked God, she said.
“I know my brother. He was smiling,” Martin said. “He was like, ‘June 1st! June 1st I’m going home!’”
Martin said Corrections officials told Betts that so many people have written to the parole board on her behalf that they feared they would break the Internet. He was initially sentenced to 25 years to life.
“They had so many Brian supporters that they thought DOC’s website was going to go down,” he said.
Betts, 46, along with her cousin Celester McKinney, 52, were convicted of a 1997 murder with parallels to the case of Lamonte McIntyre. McIntyre, who was cleared in 2017 of a double homicide he did not commit, was allegedly framed by former Kansas City, Kansas police detective Roger Golubski on the perjury of two eyewitnesses who claimed they were coerced by the detective .
Just as in the McIntyre case, the police never recovered the weapons or any physical evidence and failed to document much of their work in the Betts-McKinney case. Similar to the McIntyre case, there are suggestions that Golubski was protecting a local drug dealer.
But unlike the McIntyre case, Betts and McKinney’s attempts to gain their freedom through the legal system failed. Most recently, a judge in December denied the two a new trial, despite “this new cloud of doubt” surrounding Golubski.
Betts said he was at home sleeping with his girlfriend and baby at the time of the murder. The key witness was their uncle, Carter Betts, who said his nephews had confessed to him about the murder. He later retracted, saying he was coerced by two KCKPD detectives, including Golubski, into giving false testimony.
Golubski, 70, now faces federal charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and sex trafficking.
McKinney had a parole hearing on Feb. 16 and was told he will know if he will be paroled within a month of that day, Martin said.
McKinney’s attorney Sarah Swain said she hopes Betts’ win on parole means McKinney could be next.
“Either way, this is great news for Brian Betts,” he said.
Betts spent much of his time in prison educating himself, Swain said.
“He’s going to become a powerful advocate for himself out of behind bars,” she said.
Lora McDonald, executive director of the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, or MORE2, said the group was elated to learn of Betts’ probation, even though she served nearly her entire sentence as she unsuccessfully fought to rehabilitate her. first name.
MORE2 has called for a full investigation into the case by the US Department of Justice. McDonald’s said it is still desperately needed.
“There is so much work to be done to right the decades of injustice perpetuated by the Kansas City Police Department and the Wyandotte County courts,” he said.