Category Archives: Texas

George Powell

George Powell III was convicted of armed robbery in 2009, and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

A jailhouse informant who claimed Powell confessed to him has recanted, admitting that everything he said was a lie.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission, a state agency that reinvestigated — and called into question — the key piece of evidence against Powell. Powell’s conviction hinged on a dispute over the height of the robber. The clerk at the 7-Eleven told police that the man wearing sunglasses and a ball cap who pointed a gun at her was about 5-foot-6. Powell, however, stands 6-foot-3.

To account for the discrepancy, prosecutors called to the stand an expert who examined video footage of the robber as he walked past the height-measurement strip next to the store exit. Michael Knox, introduced as an expert in forensic video analysis, testified that the 7-Eleven surveillance video showed a suspect at least 6-foot-1.

Although Knox “had never before estimated height based on photos or videos,” the appeal said, jurors convicted Powell of aggravated robbery.

In 2014, however, the Texas Forensic Science Commission voted to examine Knox’s determination as part of its role in helping judges, prosecutors and lawyers better use forensic evidence at trial.

The commission hired a national leader in forensic video analysis who — using industry-standard methods that Knox did not, including three-dimensional laser scanning and measurement scale analysis — determined that the robber was no taller than 5-foot-9, and could have been as short as 5-foot-6.

In its report on the Powell case, the commission concluded that Knox’s analysis was flawed and that his determination about the robber’s height was “unsupportable,” Powell’s appeals said.

Add it all up, defense lawyer Mike Ware said, and “this is an obvious case where they simply arrested and convicted the wrong man”.

Source: “Was the conviction of a Central Texas man built on bad science, lies?” American-Statesman, Nov. 18, 2016

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Jeromy Poirier

14915018_240836962998118_942807992_nJeromy Poirier was falsely accused of sexually abusing his 2 1/2 year old daughter during a custody battle with cps by his wife’s parents.

Jeromy’s mother-in-laws sister worked as a case worker for cps and told them what his 2 1/2 year little girl needed to say to ensure victory.

Jeromy’s wife Cailey witnessed her maternal family coaching their daughter and when she stood up for the right thing, parents and aunt had their corrupt cps friend remove Jeromy and Cailey’s daughter, Marlie from both of them. They did this so that they could coach and brainwash her to say her daddy did things to her. They have even told Marlie that her daddy and mommy are dead and are in heaven.

Denton, TX CPS amended their petition to claim Jeromy and Cailey’s second daughter was born in Denton county when she was not, and it was not even their jurisdiction, but the judge looked over all of this and let Jeromy’s in-laws and the corrupt cps caseworker do whatever they wanted.

Jeromy has taken a polygraph with honest results. His daughter was taken to a children’s hospital immediately after the “outcry”, there were no signs of sexual abuse.

His in-laws waited an entire year after the false allegations were made to take the daughter for a forensic interview with the police, in which no outcry was made. They ended up taking her back for a second forensic interview where supposedly they had her make an outcry at that point.

A whole year passed after this point and the criminal investigation was suppose to be closed. Two years after the false allegations were made, Jeromy was arrested.

Jeromy and Cailey both tried to assist the detective in charge at the start of the case, and he would not speak to them at any point.

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Vanessa Cameron

Vanessa Cameron was convicted of murder of her son’s father in 2012. She was sentenced to 70 years. There was no physical evidence. Just a false confession from Vanessa and the testimony of the co-defendant Lakisha Brown. The alleged shooter was acquitted of murder. The real shooter plead guilty and received 25 years. The real shooter is Vanessa’s older sister Susan Sutton. All facts of the case can be read on www.freevanessa.com.

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Rob Will

In 2000, Rob Will was unfairly convicted for the slaying of a police officer. Due to derisory legal counsel, prosecutorial and juror misconduct, as well as evidence withheld during trial- Rob was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

In spite of Rob being handcuffed at time of the fatal shooting (radio logs prove this) and numerous confessions by his co-defendant saying Rob is innocent- an innocent man awaits an execution date.
U.S. Federal District Judge stated, “On top of considerable evidence supporting Will’s innocence and the important errors in the trial court, there must also be addressed the absence of eyewitness testimony or strongly probative forensic evidence… only circumstantial evidence supports Will’s conviction and death sentence.”

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Justin Boyce

12507281_10156348967040526_9144467749603858242_nJustin Boyce was convicted of the November 2012 murder of his girlfriend’s three year old daughter.

On November 28th 2012 emergency crews were called about three year old Breanna Perry who was believed to be having a seizure. Breanna was rushed to the hospital but died the next day. Prosecutors claimed Boyce beat Breanna to death with a blunt object.

District attorney Joe Brown said in his opening statement that Breanna’s mother and sister noticed bruises on Breanna. Justin denied the accusations saying that girl had fallen off her mattress and hit her head on a toy causing the bruise.

Two of the first responders on the scene testified Tuesday that they thought it was strange that Justin showed no emotion during the incident, however defense attorneys attributed Justin’s lack of emotion to Aspergers syndrome.

Defense Attorneys said  the Breanna was injured when her older sister accidentally jumped on her head and cracked her skull.

Source:  press report on the first day of the case.

According to Justin’s mother:

There was no physical evidence, no witnesses, and nothing to tie him to the death other than circumstantial evidence of being at the wrong place at the wrong time as well as evidently having the misfortune of being “the boyfriend.” The Assistant DA justified charging Justin because he stated to Justin’s attorney, “It’s always the boyfriend.” It even took the DA’s office TWO grand juries to finally get their indictment they so vigorously sought against him.

The other reason Justin was the focus of the police investigation in this small town is because he has Asperger’s Syndrome (also referred to as high-functioning Autism). The uneducated members of law enforcement in this area thought that automatically meant he was violent, “weird,” and “too calm,” even describing Justin to witnesses “as cool as a Hindu cat.” In spite of being a gentle person, never being in a fight or throwing a punch in his life, and never being arrested before, the police discarded and ignored any evidence to the contrary, focusing on Justin as the main suspect from the very beginning. Justin had nothing to hide and fully co-operated with the police from day one, offering them full access to his cell phone during initial questioning without an attorney present and even offering to let them in his girlfriend’s house to search without a warrant. He voluntarily took and passed a polygraph. In spite of this, he was charged, indicted, arrested and convicted at a very lop-sided and unfair trial where the prosecution presented their case for nine days and the defense for one and a half days.

There is evidence of prosecutorial misconduct that includes witness tampering and coercion, as well as the appearance of impropriety with a juror who never disclosed being friends of the victim’s family. We have just begun the lengthy appeal process and won’t stop until Justin is exonerated and once more home with his loving family who believe in his innocence 100%.

From a news report on the sentencing hearing:

But not everyone believes Boyce is guilty, including Brianna’s mother. Sara Perry spoke with us, off camera.  She and Boyce are still together and have a child. One of Boyce’s former co-workers said she’s never seen Boyce act violent and doesn’t believe he killed Brianna.

“Justin was a good kind person when I worked with him, now a family that has already lost a child, has lost a dad too,” Airel Wastier, who worked with Boyce, said.

“We’re very disappointed in the verdict, we respect it but you know we’re disappointed. We didn’t think that the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that Justin did anything to Brianna,” Bob Jarvis, Boyce’s attorney, said.

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Warren Horinek

On March 14, 1995, Warren Horinek called 911, claiming his wife Bonnie had shot herself. When paramedics arrived, they found Bonnie dead. She was lying on the couple’s bed with a gunshot wound to the chest. Warren was frantically administering CPR. On the bed next to Bonnie’s body was a .38 revolver and a shotgun. There was no sign of a break in. Police quickly narrowed the possible scenarios: Either Bonnie had committed suicide or Warren had murdered her. Warren claimed from the beginning that Bonnie had killed herself.

The people normally responsible for prosecuting a murder came to believe that Warren was telling the truth. The crime scene investigator, the homicide sergeant, the medical examiner and the assistant DA assigned to prosecute the case all became convinced that the evidence pointed to suicide.

“I always thought that it was suicide,” Mike Parrish, the prosecutor handling the case, told the Observer last year. “Still do.”

Bonnie’s parents chose to hire a private attorney, who, through a quirk in the law, obtained a grand jury indictment of Horinek. That led to a bizarre trial. Everyone trying to convict Warren was in private practice, and the agents of the state—crime scene investigator, homicide sergeant and assistant DA—all testified for the defense.

It seemed Warren was headed for acquittal until the testimony of the prosecution’s final witness—a blood spatter expert from Oklahoma named Tom Bevel. He testified that the small spots of blood found on Warren’s t-shirt the night of Bonnie’s death were certainly the result of blood spatter form a gunshot. He said the spatter proved Warren had fired a gun the night of the murder.

It was Bevel’s blood spatter testimony that led to Warren’s conviction.

The problem is Bevel may well have been wrong. Several nationally known blood spatter experts have examined the Horinek case and strongly believe the blood spots resulted from Warren administering CPR to Bonnie. They say the key forensic evidence that sent Warren to prison is flawed.

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Richard Allen Masterson

Richard Masterton was wrongly convicted of the 2001 murder of Darin Honeycutt.

Richard met Honeycutt at a Houston, Texas, bar. The two men went back to Honeycutt’s apartment. Richard is accused of strangling Honeycutt in order to rob him. Richard testified they were having sex, and he did not intend Honeycutt’s death.

The medical examiner was a fraud, and the cause of death was a heart attack and not strangulation. Richard also gave a coerced false confession, and also became severely depressed and suicidal while in jail, which contributed to his wrongful conviction.

Because Richard’s lawyers failed him, the court system will not provide relief to him. His last chance to avoid execution on January 20, 2016 is executive clemency.

Clemency Petition January 5, 2016

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Richard’s appeals were all denied, he was executed on January 20, 2016.

 

 

Barbara Holder

BarbaraHolderBarbara Holder was wrongly convicted of the murder of her abusive husband Curtis Holder on May 30, 1997.

She was convicted due to the testimony of Johnny Lopez, who confessed to killing Curtis.

Lopez testified that a third man, Mark Dixon, had told him Barbara would pay him $30,000 to kill Curtis.

Lopez gave many different statements before implicating Barbara. Mark Dixon did not testify.

More information on the trial here.

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Gerald Marshall

Gerald Marshall was convicted of murder and sentenced to death after the manager of a restaurant persuaded him to take part in a staged fake robbery to defraud the business that went disastrously wrong.

Ronald “Bo” Worthy entered the restaurant, and shot employee Christopher Dean who had placed the money in a safe and was unable to open it.

Worthy and another co-defendant then conspired to place the blame on Gerald, whose involvement in the conspiracy was minimal.

While Gerald was involved in the conspiracy, his trial was unfair and the jury were given a false picture. His sentence is grossly unjust.

For a full description of the case please see here.

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Linda Carty

Linda Carty claims she was framed by drug dealers in response to her work as an informant and has appealed her conviction. Her appeals have been unsuccessful and the appeal procedure has been exhausted.

In 2014, key witnesses against her, including a DEA agent for whom she worked as an informant, recanted and claimed they were coerced into testifying against her by the prosecutor.

Retired DEA Special Agent Charles Mathis accused prosecutor Connie Spence with threatening to allege in court that he had had an affair with Carty. Mathis denies the affair, but was concerned the effect it would have on his career.

Two of Carty’s co-defendants accuse prosecutors of threatening them with the death sentence and of feeding them stories implicating Carty.

Her co-defendant, Chris Robinson, testified against her at her trial, but has since recanted, claiming that prosecutors coerced him to testify that he saw Carty put a trash bag over Rodriguez’s head when Rodriguez was in the trunk, claiming the story is untrue. “When we were rehearsing I would say the story back to them they would stop me and add something in or take it out then make me keep going. They would stop me by saying ‘Wait, wait, this is what happened,’ ” he said in his affidavit. Capital murder charges were dropped against Robinson in exchange for his testimony.

Another co-defendant, Gerald Anderson, who was not called to testify, alleged that prosecutors attempted to get him to testify falsely against Carty as well.

Source: Wikipedia

See also http://www.reprieve.org.uk/case-study/linda-carty/

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Howard Guidry

“Unlike Lay and Skilling, however, Guidry was totally innocent. The only evidence used to convict Guidry was the coerced confession and hearsay testimony from the suspected killer’s girlfriend. Both pieces of evidence were thrown out in September 2003 by Federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who ordered Harris County in Houston to release or retry Guidry within 180 days.”

Source : Death row prisoner Howard Guidry By Gloria Rubac, Houston, Published Jun 4, 2006 1:52 PM

News 20 July 2015

Attorneys for Howard Guidry accuse Former Texas Prosecutor Kelly Siegler of withholding evidence in Guidry’s 1995 murder trial just a week after another man prosecuted by Siegler, David Mark Temple, had his conviction overturned for the same reason…

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David Mark Temple

In 2007, David Mark Temple was convicted of murdering his wife on January 11, 1999. In July 2015, the conviction was overturned.

Report, July 8, 2015 : “Judge says ex-prosecutor Kelly Siegler withheld evidence in David Temple Case”

Quote

A visiting judge has accused former Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler of withholding evidence in the murder case against David Mark Temple, who was convicted of killing his wife in 2007, and has recommended that Temple be granted a new trial.

Judge Larry Gist’s findings, which were issued Wednesday after nearly three months of witness testimony in a habeas hearing, are not binding; it’s now up to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to decide whether the former Katy football star and high school coach was denied a fair trial in a high-profile case pitting two outsized egos — Siegler and defense attorney Dick DeGuerin — against each other. (The CCA previously denied Temple’s appeal).

“Both were famous and neither could stand losing to each other,” Gist wrote in his 19-page recommendation, issued Wednesday.

But the finding paints a picture of Siegler being overzealous to the point of depriving Temple of a fair trial, leading to his conviction for the shotgun slaying of his wife Belinda in 1999.

Prosecutors “intentionally, deliberately, or negligently failed to disclose” investigators’ reports and witness statements that pointed to other suspects, but Siegler continued the suppression even following the conviction, according to the findings.

Siegler testified in the habeas hearing that potential exculpatory evidence didn’t need to be disclosed if prosecutors “did not believe it was true,” according to the findings.

Gist also wrote that Siegler influenced post-trial maneuvers by telling police and officials within the DA’s Office not to disclose public records if they were requested. The findings also state that Siegler continued to pull strings even after leaving the DA’s Office in 2008, after 21 years, by getting an alleged witness who approached DeGuerin after the trial to change his story.

In that situation, Daniel Glasscock gave DeGuerin a sworn statement that he overheard another man implicate himself in the murder. Glasscock passed a polygraph administered by the DA’s Office and also gave the same story to a DA’s investigator.

But Siegler “asked” a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy — who was involved with the trial investigation — to contact Glassock and another witness “before they could be contacted by the Special Prosecutor [in the habeas investigation] or current members of the District Attorney’s Office. The Deputy did so and afterwards, their stories were significantly different than the original version,” according to the finding.

“In substance, Glasscock repudiated the most important details to the extent that his future credibility as a witness is significantly impaired,” Gist wrote.

At trial, DeGuerin argued that Belinda Temple, who was eight months pregnant, was killed by teenagers during a burglary. But prosecutors said that David Temple was having an affair and had a clear motive to kill his wife. Temple was sentenced to life in prison.

Houston attorney Paul Looney, who worked on Temple’s case before DeGuerin took over, told theHouston Press that Siegler’s ultimate goal was to use the case as leverage to get her own TV reality series — an idea she had unsuccessfully pitched once before.

Siegler then asked to take over the Temple case, which had been languishing for years because the original grand jury chose not to indict.

“This was her opportunity to enhance her resume to the point where she would get her TV show,” Looney said. “It worked, she got the show (“Cold Justice” on TNT). But boy, at what a price. At the price of David Temple’s life, at the price of an entire family’s reputation, and at the price of her own integrity.”

As for Siegler’s impression of exculpatory evidence, Looney said, “If Kelly’s bizarre interpretation of that rule were ever to be the law, then all a prosecutor would ever have to do to keep any witness statement away from the defense is say, ‘Well, I didn’t believe it, so I didn’t give it to the defense.’ That’s never been the law, it would totally eliminate law, but she just boldly stated it — and the only thing I can figure is she’s trying to find some arguable basis to try to defend her law license from the ultimate scrutiny of the State Bar of Texas, which undoubtedly is going to happen over this case.”

But Looney alleged that Siegler not only violated professional ethical standards, but that she committed a felony by obstructing justice.

“If Kelly Siegler’s a lawyer in five years, I’ll be shocked,” Looney said. “And if she’s not a felon in five years, it’ll be because [District Attorney] Devon Anderson decided to protect her own friend.”

Most of the investigators’ reports and witness statements revealed at the habeas hearing were not available — or even known — to Temple’s appellate lawyers, and were only discovered after Temple’s latest team filed a post-conviction writ. (Looney gave props to Temple’s current lawyers, Stanley Schneider and Casie Gotro, saying they conducted “some of the best legal work that’ll ever be done in our state.”)

“They went in and started looking through all the files, and they had a ‘holy shit’ moment where they’re looking at stuff that nobody’s ever seen or heard of before,” Looney said.

Siegler was not available for comment, but we’ll update if we hear back.

End Quote

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See also here, re Siegler.

News
24 November 2016 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirms Gist’s findings.
28 December 2016 Released on bond.

Temple’s appellate attorney, Stan Schneider said “The new evidence is really substantial, and I believe the evidence shows overwhelmingly that he’s innocent.”

7 January 2017 Update post : David’s Alibi.

Preston Grant Hawkins

On September 19, 1995, Preston Grant Hawkins, aged 17, was confronted by two armed men in a hotel laundry room after an earlier trivial dispute. He panicked and shot both of them, one of them was killed.

He fled from the scene instead of calling the police, and was later arrested, charged and convicted of first degree murder.

The prosecution claimed he had intent to murder the men before the confrontation, when in truth it was an ugly armed confrontation initiated by the two other men. Perhaps Preston should not have opened fire, but he was afraid they would shoot him first. This was certainly not first degree murder.

Preston’s girlfriend was also charged, and was persuaded to testify against him to support the prosecution’s theory of what occurred.

The full story is set out very clearly on the website Preston Grant Hawkins ” Truth and Justice”.

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Troy Clarke

The claim:

Troy has been an inmate on death row since March 2000. He was found guilty of capital murder and received the death penalty. Troy did not commit this crime. His girlfriend at the time, Tory Bush, confessed to the murder and gave at least 4 statements to the police admitting her guilt.

While Tory was in jail awaiting her trial she changed her story and put the blame on Troy. She was assisted in this by another inmate, who had been willing to testify to that effect at Troy’s trial had she been called: she was not.

Troy was convicted, tried, and ultimately sentenced to death; he is on death row purely because of what Tory said, he’s there because she changed her story after confessing to the murder. There was no concrete evidence whatsoever against Troy: any “evidence” was purely circumstantial, and it came down to Tory’s word against his.

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Alfred Dwayne Brown

Alfred Dwayne Brown, whose conviction and death sentence in a case involving the fatal shooting of a Houston police officer was thrown out, will not be retried, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Monday.

The Court of Criminal Appeals last year threw out Brown’s 2005 conviction and death sentence after ruling that his defense team was not given evidence that could have supported his alibi at trial. The evidence was a copy of a telephone record, found last year by an investigator who was part of the case.

DA drops charges against Alfred Brown

EJI exoneration report

No physical evidence tied Mr. Brown to the crime. Mr. Brown’s girlfriend was aggressively interrogated and threatened with perjury by the grand jury foreman, who was a police officer, and she was jailed for seven weeks until she changed her testimony to implicate Mr. Brown. She has since recanted that testimony.

Mr. Brown’s attorneys have uncovered compelling evidence that the murder was committed by another man with a history of robbery and connections to the co-defendants in the crime. They filed a motion in 2008 to test the alternate suspect’s DNA, but no test has been carried out.

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Brian Davis

Brian Davis made a false confession to save his wife after she was involved in a murder.

In Brian’s false confession, he stated that the murder occurred on Sat August 10, 1991 at around 3-4 am, however the Medical Investigator who inspected the body around 2:30pm on August 13, stated that the body was in full rigor mortis and death had occurred within the last 12 hours. Thus Brian’s confession cannot have been true.

There is no physical evidence linking Brian to the crime. In 2011 DNA tests showed that two unidentified males were at the scene.

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Lincoln Keith

Lincoln Keith was arrested in 1984 and convicted of murder-for-hire based on coerced testimony from the killer and another defendant in exchange for leniency.

The State claimed the victim’s granddaughter offered him $400 , but she was acquitted.

The State claimed he “blurted out” a confession with many people present, that only one detective heard, Snow Robertson.

The bullet and casing recovered did not match Keith’s gun.

One juror was a family friend of detective Robertson.

He had an alibi, but the witness was not called at trial.

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