“After my story and ongoing legal plight was published on the front-page of the New York Times last week, a National organization called Change.org contacted me and wants to try and collect as many signatures as possible to try and put pressure on Texas to do the right thing and officially recognize my innocence. With this in mind, and with their encouragement, I started a petition on Change.org asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend me for a full pardon based on actual innocence.”
Why This Is Important
In 1978 I was found guilty for the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman in Texas. I was sentenced to death row. I was innocent.
In 1999 I was proven innocent through DNA testing — after over 20 years on death row.
The case against me was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Over the years, every piece of evidence used to convict me was revealed to be bogus.The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the prosecution had suppressed evidence that showed I was innocent in order to build their case against me.
Thirteen years after my innocence was proven and I was released from prison, the state of Texas still has not judicially exonerated me.
I was tried for this murder nearly four times. Despite an Appellate ruling throwing out my second conviction with findings that “Police and prosecutorial misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset,” the Smith County District Attorney’s Office was more interested in saving face than justice.
Unwilling to drop the charges against me on the eve of my fourth trial, prosecutors offered a plea-bargain: plead no-contest with no admission of guilt, and go free. By this time my only brother had been murdered, my Dad had died of cancer, and my mother had abandoned me. I took the offer and walked out of the courtroom. But I have never been free.
Two months later, DNA evidence proved my innocence.
Because I pleaded no-contest to the murder, I cannot be declared actually innocent unless the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommends to Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and Texas Governor Rick Perry agrees and sets me free.
Without being exonerated, I feel I am still in a Texas prison.
Please sign my petition and ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend to Texas Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and finally set free from my mental prison sentence now in its 35th year.