A man convicted of a 1988 explosion that killed six KC firefighters earns $ 344K in a record proceeding


A federal judge has given a former prisoner who sued the Justice Department more than $ 344,000 in legal fees. Died in a 1988 explosion Six firefighters from Kansas City. I spent nearly 22 years in jail.

Brian Shepherd, who remains innocent in the explosion, filed a proceeding after being released in 2017. He petitioned for disclosure of records derived from federal examination of the case under the Information Disclosure Act. The review was prompted by a Kansas City Star investigation that raised questions about whether federal agents were involved in the illegal activity.

“This case is not about whether Star’s allegations are really true, or whether the five individuals convicted of the 1988 arson are actually innocent,” Shepherd’s lawyer said in 2017. Written in a lawsuit filed in the western part of Missouri in December. A federal agency is considering the actions of its investigators and prosecutors, but unilaterally concludes without public consideration and accountability that the agency and its staff are doing nothing wrong. It’s about whether you should be allowed to do that. “

Shepherd Explosion at a construction site on November 29, 1988 Along US Route 71 near 87th Avenue. Prosecutors alleged that Shepherd, who was 17 at the time of the arson, colluded with four other co-defendants to steal tools for selling with drug money and set fire to a trailer truck early in the morning.

In March 2017, Shepherd, the youngest child of the defendant, was released from prison. He was granted a new ruling after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it was unconstitutional to impose life imprisonment without first considering the boy’s personal characteristics and life history. rice field.

There was no physical evidence linking the five defendants to arson.

Report by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning star reporter Mike McGraw Spotlight Case mismatch.He interviewed witnesses who said they were Forced by authorities.. Major witnesses said they were pressured to lie about listening to the convicted mother and others planning the theft at the construction site.

McGraw reported that some of the jury members who voted to convict one of the defendants admitted that they believed in her innocence. They said she pleaded guilty because they mistakenly believed that letting go of her would release the other defendants.

McGraw’s investigation prompted the Justice Department to review the case.

In 2011, the Justice Department said it had found information that was previously unknown to prosecutors, suggesting that others “may have been involved in Arson.” However, no one else was charged.

Shepherd sought records kept by the Justice Department for the investigation. In a civil proceeding, Judge Nanette K. Lafrey of the US District Court ruled that the Justice Department had improperly withheld the document requested by Shepherd.

Shepherd was awarded a total of $ 344,122 as attorneys’ fees paid by the Justice Department under an order issued by Lafrey on Tuesday. Shepherd’s lawyer requested a fee of $ 444,314.

Brian Shepherd testified at a hearing on Wednesday to reduce his life imprisonment in the 1988 explosion of six firefighters.

Brian Shepherd testified at a hearing on Wednesday to reduce his life imprisonment in the 1988 explosion of six firefighters.