KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A Kansas prisoner who claimed in a lawsuit that he was not being treated properly for cancer has died, his family and lawyers said.
John Keith Calvin, 56, died Wednesday at El Dorado Correctional Facility, where he had been jailed for a 2002 murder that his lawyers and supporters said he did not commit.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Calvin said the Kansas Department of Corrections had failed to provide adequate treatment for his colon cancer, The Kansas City Star reported. An emergency application asking to be transferred to a hospital was denied.
In a statement, Calvin’s attorneys said his family was “devastated” to share his death after spending more than 19 years in prison for the December 12, 2002, killing of John Coates in Kansas City, Kansas. He could have been eligible for parole in May.
His attorneys from the Midwest Innocence Project and the Morgan Pilate law firm said Calvin was innocent.
“Everyone knew about it and a whole community fought for it,” they said. “John Calvin will have a long legacy and his fight against injustice will continue.”
Calvin’s co-defendant, Melvin Lee White Jr., was sentenced to five years after accepting a plea deal in Coates’ death. White has repeatedly said in court and in interviews that he shot Coates and Calvin was innocent.
Calvin’s case had been referred to the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which investigates allegations of police misconduct and wrongful conviction.
In their lawsuit, Calvin’s attorneys said he was “yet another victim” of police corruption in Kansas City, Kansas, “as exemplified” by former Detective Roger Golubski.
Golubski was accused by federal prosecutors and civil rights groups of framing black citizens and sexually harassing black women and girls for years in Kansas City, Kansas.
He is currently under house arrest facing two federal charges that he sexually assaulted and abducted a woman and a teenager between 1998 and 2002, and that he was part of a sex trafficking ring involving underage girls in Kansas City, Kansas, between 1996 and 1998.
Golubski pleaded not guilty to all charges.