8th Anniversary of Release
Eight years after being released from prison, serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, the Rev. Darryl Burton said his life has taken an unlikely path.
Burton has been called different things over the years. For 25 years of his life, it was inmate. Today, it’s pastor and husband.
He said even he is stunned by his journey. Now he’s using his story to help another man who’s in prison.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing,” Burton said, reading Luke 23:34 in the Bible. “Yes, I’ll never forget that.”
He said those word helped heal a broken man.
“That one verse,” he said. “And I said, ‘If this man can forgive, after being innocent and being crucified, I have no more excuses.'”
Exoneration turned Burton’s life around. He had been wrongfully convicted of a 1984 St. Louis murder on shaky witness testimony.
“Man, I hope I don’t sound mad, bitter or upset, because I’m not,” Burton said.
He said the time he spent in prison was tough.
“It’s hell on Earth. It’s a double dose of betrayal, injustice, pain and suffering,” he said.
But he said it’s also where he found God. “It was something my grandmother had said to me when I got away from the church: ‘One of these days you’re going to need Jesus, boy. I hope you remember to call on him,’” Burton said. “It’s what she said and her words were prophetic.”
Burton traded his jumpsuit for a robe at Leawood’s Church of the Resurrection, where he goes God’s work and guides others with a cross to bear.
“Oddly enough, I end up being able to help two different worlds, when people are in bondage of some sort,” he said, referring to people in spiritual prisons and those who are physically incarcerated.
He’s now supporting Lamonte McIntyre, who is serving time for a 1994 double murder in Kansas City, Kansas, that he said he didn’t commit.
“He’s going to have moments where the doors seem like they’re about to open up and then sometimes, they would seem like they would slam shut again. And that’s so frustrating, but don’t give up,” he said.
Burton said he lives by his own advice and shares his story from the pulpit.
“I could tell it over and over and over,” he said.
Burton celebrated the eighth anniversary of his release Monday. Over the weekend, he celebrated his fifth wedding anniversary.