News 08.25.08

Charges dismissed in Texas death row case

A Texas judge this morning approved a request by Collin County prosecutors to dismiss charges against former death row inmate Michael Blair due to mounting evidence – including DNA test results – pointing to his innocence of a 1994 child murder. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in June that Blair’s conviction in the case should be vacated, and today’s decision to dismiss charges makes his exoneration official. He will not be released, however, because he is serving three life sentences for unrelated sexual assault convictions.

At Blair’s trial in 1994, prosecutors presented several pieces of hair and fiber evidence against him; a state expert said that hairs from the crime scene matched Blair’s and hairs from Blair’s car could have belonged to the seven-year-old victim. DNA testing conducted since trial at Blair’s request have discredited the microscopic hair testimony and no link between Blair and the victim or crime scene has been discovered. The first tests to exclude Blair were finished in 2002. Additionally, DNA evidence indicates that another man, now deceased, may have committed this crime.

Blair is the 219th person exonerated nationwide by DNA evidence and the 17th who served time on death row. He is the 33nd DNA exoneree in Texas, which has more wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing than any other state.



Read more about Blair’s case here

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