The colloquial phrase innocent until proven guilty is thrown around a lot in this country. In the case of Anthony Graves, the converse seems more appropriate when after 18 years and a death sentence the state of Texas declared him an innocent man. Convicted in 1994, the State’s case against Graves relied almost entirely on the the testimony of his supposed accomplice, Robert Earl Carter, who recanted his story shortly before his own execution in 2000. In spite of Carter’s recantation, Graves remained on death row until a team of journalism students from the University of St. Thomas began investigating the circumstances of his conviction. With evidence gathered by these journalism students and the help of the Innocence Project at the University of Houston, Graves conviction was overturned in 2006 by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court granted Graves a new trial and he returned to the county jail.
Prior to the commencement of Graves’ retrial, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to dismiss all charges against him. In commenting on the case, Assistant District Attorney, Kelly Siegler, said “After months of investigation and talking to every witness who’s ever been involved in this case, and people who’ve never been talked to before, after looking under every rock we could find, we found not one piece of credible evidence that links Anthony Graves to the commission of this capital murder. This is not a case where the evidence went south with time or witnesses passed away or we just couldn’t make the case anymore. He is an innocent man.” Upon his release, Anthony Graves became the 139 death row exoneree since 1973.
For more information on Anthony Graves’ case, please click here.
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