Ten years after Claude Jones was executed in Texas for a murder he said he didn’t commit, a state judge has ordered DNA testing on a one-inch strand of hair that could prove whether or not he was wrongfully executed.
Three years ago, the Texas Observer, the Innocence Project, the Innocence Project of Texas and the Texas Innocence Network filed motions seeking DNA testing on the only piece of physical evidence allegedly tying Jones to the scene of a liquor store shooting murder in 1990. In an order filed yesterday, Texas Judge Paul C. Murphy ordered prosecutors to provide access to the evidence so DNA tests can proceed.
Jones was convicted based mainly on the testimony of a snitch who later recanted and on a forensic analyst’s report on the hair – saying it “matched” Jones’ hair, a scientifically impossible finding. Jones maintained his innocence throughout his time on death row. “We have said all along that this case is about a search for the truth and the public’s right to know. We are very pleased that the court agrees with this objective,” said Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck. “We hope the District Attorney’s office will now work with us to find mutually agreeable experts to examine and test this evidence within 60 days, or sooner, as ordered by the court.”
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