Wrongfully convicted man donates $10,000 to help find cold case - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Wrongfully convicted man donates $10,000 to help find cold case killer

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Joshua Kezer Joshua Kezer
MIschelle Lawless MIschelle Lawless
Sheriff Rick Walter Sheriff Rick Walter
Sheriff Walter says the money from Kezer will help a lot to pay DNA experts and others processing old evidence that could help them finally crack the case. Sheriff Walter says the money from Kezer will help a lot to pay DNA experts and others processing old evidence that could help them finally crack the case.
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SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

A new twist in the hunt for the real killer of Mischelle Lawless: Joshua Kezer, the man wrongfully accused of the Scott County murder, now decides to give the investigation a big boost.

"He wrote us a check for $10,000 to be used only to fund the Mischelle Lawless investigation," said Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter.

"It has everything to do with justice and doing the right thing," said Josh Kezer. "It is not about vengeance; it's about closure."

Kezer talked about his decision to make the donation Sunday.  He says he wants closure for the family of the woman he was once accused of killing.

"People say I could walk away," said Kezer. "But I can't. I knew years ago I would forever be tied to this case. It's not fair to the community. We need to be aware that there are killers running around out there. Even though this case is 20 years old it's still very real and very alive."

"The whole thing is unusual," said Sheriff Walter.

Sheriff Rick Walter was a deputy back in 1992, and the first to make it to the bloody scene.

Mischelle Lawless's body was discovered in her car near the Benton exit. She'd been beaten and shot. Sheriff Walter says the money from Kezer will help a lot to pay DNA experts and others processing old evidence that could help them finally crack the case.

"Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money," said Sheriff Walter. "Investigations get very expensive. It's not like it is on TV shows."

It was unheard of for a sheriff to reopen a case as Walter did in 2006. It was a move that led to Kezer's release. He was declared an innocent man in 2009. Soon after, Kezer sued the county and won and ended up getting quite a bit of money.

The exact amount has never been disclosed. Now, Kezer and Walter both say his decision to give some of the money back to Scott County has some people scratching their heads.

"He wants to see this thing through," said Sheriff Walter. "He told me people asked him why would he give money to a county that wronged him. He told me it's a different county now and this is about helping Mischelle Lawless."

Now, with a picture of Mischelle Lawless always at his side, Sheriff Walter hopes the donation will help bring justice to her and silence those who still don't believe in Kezer's innocence.

"This may remove a little doubt because if you were guilty you wouldn't want this thing solved," said Walter.

If you ask Josh Kezer, he'll tell you this isn't about him, but all about closure for the Lawless family.

"I want this thing shut for them, they can never truly move on but they can heal. Justice can help with that healing."

Sheriff Walter says he contacted the Lawless family about the donation. He says they were very appreciative.

Meanwhile, he says he an additional investigator will start next week to work just on the Lawless case. Sheriff Walter is not disclosing where that investigator is coming from yet, but he says he will be paid by the agency that is providing his services. Look for more information on these new eyes on the case in the next few weeks.

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