More than $1.5m (£1.1m) has been raised to help an American man who was freed after spending 43 years in jail for a triple murder he did not commit.

The Midwest Innocence Project set up the online fundraiser as they fought for Kevin Strickland‘s release, noting that he would not get compensation from the state of Missouri, where he was wrongfully convicted.

The 62-year-old is not eligible for wrongful imprisonment payments because the state only provides them to people exonerated through DNA evidence.

“The state of Missouri has robbed him of his youth, his health, and much of his life’s potential,” the Midwest Innocence Project wrote on the GoFundMe page.

He has no work history because he was imprisoned at the age of 18 and now uses a wheelchair, the appeal added.

“Mr Strickland needs financial support to care for his basic needs upon his release,” Midwest Innocence Project said.

“Mr Strickland has suffered an unimaginable atrocity and no one helped him. Today, he needs your help.”

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A judge ordered his release on Tuesday after ruling that evidence used to convict Mr Strickland has since been disproven or recanted.

Mr Strickland has always maintained that he was at home watching television when the three killings happened.

He was convicted on testimony from a witness who identified Mr Strickland as one of four men who shot victims Larry Ingram, 21, John Walker, 20, and Sherrie Black, 22.

The witness recanted her statement before she died and said after the trial she was pressured by police to identify him as one of the perpetrators.

There was no physical evidence that tied Mr Strickland to the scene of the crime and the two other men convicted in the killings also insisted he was not involved – instead naming two other suspects who were never charged.

Mr Strickland found out he was being released when the news scrolled across a television screen as he was watching a soap opera.

Other prisoners began screaming, he said.

Mr Strickland said the criminal justice system “needs to be torn down and redone”, adding that he would like to get involved in efforts to “keep this from happening to someone else”.

“I’m not necessarily angry,” he said. “It’s a lot. I think I’ve created emotions that you all don’t know about just yet.

“Joy, sorrow, fear. I am trying to figure out how to put them together.”