Black Man Still In Jail For Life Despite Real Killer's Confession

Priyanka Prasad
A man in Kansas is continuing to serve a life sentence in prison despite the fact that someone has come forward and confessed to the murder he was indicted for.


An ongoing case in Kansas has exposed well-known issues within the U.S. criminal justice system—a man is currently serving a life sentence for murder while the killer who has confessed remains on the streets.

John Calvin was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted robbery 13 years ago and has been serving time in the Lansing Correctional Facility ever since; however, the real murderer has come forward, although it may not lead to a new trial for Calvin.

According to Raw Story, while Calvin was convicted of killing John Coates, Melvin White is the true killer and even signed an affidavit to confirm this.

White and Coates were reportedly involved with the same woman, which led to White planning to rob and kill Coates while Calvin acted as an accomplice. Calvin was somehow coerced into admitting full guilt, while White took a plea deal for his role and served 54 months, despite the fact that he was the one to actually commit the murder.

“I feel bad,” White told KCTV. “I should be doing the time not him. I’m the one who pulled the trigger.”

The problem is that regardless of the truth, it is unlikely Calvin will receive a new trial and be acquitted; “Legal experts say that’s not all that likely because courts are suspicious of testimony from one defendant that clears another,” Raw Story reports.

An innocent man serving time for a crime he didn’t commit is unfortunately a circumstance that isn’t all that rare with the way our courts are set up—there have been numerous similar cases, with groups such as the Innocence Project having absolved individuals serving life sentences.

Calvin gave voice to this: “The evidence is so clear, and you are still not moving fast enough to get an innocent man out of a place like this. It’s a nightmare.”

He is absolutely right—cases such as his reveal the deeply problematic aspects of our courts and justice system that are in desperate need of reconstruction.

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Banner Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Bob Jagendorf