Innocence Project client Clay Chabot, who was convicted of murder in 1986 based on the testimony of a man who is now implicated in the crime based on new DNA test results, was released from jail on bail this afternoon. While on bail, Chabot is living with his sister Carolyn, who moved to the Dallas area in recent days to be with him once he was released.
Last month, Judge Lana Myers agreed with the Innocence Project and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office that Chabot’s conviction should be vacated. The judge’s recommendation is now awaiting approval by the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals, which has the ultimate authority to vacate convictions in such cases. In court papers, the District Attorney’s office has said that it is still investigating whether to retry Chabot. Meanwhile, Jerry Pabst, who testified against Chabot at his trial more than 20 years ago, is now being held in custody in Dallas County after being indicted on capital murder charges based on DNA results showing that he lied in his testimony in order to hide his own guilt in the rape and murder. Without Pabst’s testimony (which is now proven to be false) there is no evidence that Chabot was involved in the crime in any way, the Innocence Project said.
“It has been a very hard 21 years, but I’m grateful that the truth has finally come out,” Chabot said this afternoon. “I am looking forward to spending time with my family and clearing my name once and for all.”
New trial in '86 murder raises questions of a plea deal
(Dallas Morning News, 08/11/07)