40 Years Behind Bars Lead to a New Start for Kevin Brinkley


(Photo Credit: Emma Lee/WHYY)

Forty years ago in 1977, Kevin Brinkley, then only 15 years old, was convicted of the murder of dairy deliveryman Charles Haag and sentenced to life in prison due to an eye witness. His family has, for the past four decades, been broadcasting his innocence to no avail. Because of the recent Supreme Court ban of mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, Brinkley was resentenced for 30 years to life. Now that Mr. Brinkley is out, he’s been destined for a life on parole. Our nonprofit partner, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, and shockingly along with the prosecutor that put him there, Gerald Dugan, are now on board to provide legal help; hurling the notion of parole out the window.

Why, you ask? Kevin and his family have always promoted his innocence and now he will get a chance to prove it. When the authorities approved him for parole, Brinkley was freed but fighting for his innocence wasn’t over. The Brinkley family is trying to get his case reviewed and overturned. Dugan, an unlikely ally and now in private practice, also believes Brinkley’s case is a wrongful conviction and is rooting for his full exoneration.

The Pennsylvania Innocence Project has been enlisted by the family to work on the case. The Innocence Project also advocates for the importance of basing on more than just eyewitness identification for convictions. It is imperative to protect people’s innocence and ensure the fairness of convictions and we're proud to support our partner on the front lines to do so.

Learn more about Kevin Brinkley's story