Death Row Inmate Alfred Brown is Exonerated, the Fourth in Texas this Year
Texas death row inmate Alfred Dewayne Brown was released from prison Monday, according to an article in the Washington Post. Brown spent 10 years on death row after being convicted of an armed robbery that resulted in the death of Houston police officer Charles R. Clark in 2003. Brown’s conviction was thrown out last November after it was found that key evidence had been withheld at his trial.
Brown’s alibi was that he was staying at his girlfriend’s apartment at the time of the robbery, which his girlfriend initially corroborated but later denied in her testimony. However, it was later revealed that Brown’s girlfriend only changed her testimony after a Houston police officer, who was the foreman on the grand jury that indicted Brown, threatened to indict her for perjury and even threatened to take away her children if she didn’t testify against Brown. She was jailed for seven weeks until she changed her testimony to go against Brown’s alibi, writes the Washington Post.
In 2010, Brown’s attorneys found, in the garage of a homicide detective, phone records which showed that he called his girlfriend at her job from her apartment at the time of the robbery, confirming his original alibi. The Houston Chronicle reports that witness statements and a sworn affidavit from one of the other men convicted in the robbery were also found in 2010, which led Brown’s attorneys to declare another man, Jero Dorty, as “the true perpetrator” in court documents. Although there was a considerable amount of evidence pointing to Dorty, including his connection to two other men convicted in the robbery and his record of similar crimes, it remains unclear how closely Dorty’s role in the case was investigated after this evidence was brought to light, writes the Houston Chronicle.
Additionally, the Washington Post writes that leaked grand jury documents show that the same officer who threatened Brown’s girlfriend served on nine grand juries in addition to Brown’s. This can be attributed to the “key man” system—a grand jury selection system that allows judges and prosecutors to fill grand juries with people who are likely to support the state, writes the Washington Post.
The Washington Post also reports that Brown is now the twelfth death row exoneree since 2013 and the fourth death row inmate to be exonerated this year.
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