At a hearing this morning in Dallas, a judge set bail for 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. The Innocence Project and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office agree that Chabot’s conviction should be thrown out, and the District Attorney’s office said today that it will not appeal the bail decision. The Innocence Project, which represents Chabot, said the $500,000 bail is being posted today and Chabot will be released from prison next week (once electronic monitoring, a condition of bail, is in place).
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 now goes to 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 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.
Following is a statement from Innocence Project Staff Attorney Vanessa Potkin after this morning’s hearing:
“This is an important step forward in Clay Chabot’s two-decade-long fight to clear his name. We know that the District Attorney’s office is still investigating this case, and we believe that Clay Chabot will ultimately be vindicated and the true perpetrator will finally be brought to justice.”