DNA testing can prove whether Claude Jones was wrongfully executed in Texas in 2000, and the Innocence Project joined several organizations in filing motions today seeking to prevent officials from destroying the only physical evidence in the case – a hair from the crime scene — and seeking a court order to conduct DNA testing.
Testing on the hair could prove whether Jones was innocent or guilty of a 1989 murder in San Jacinto County, Texas, but officials have said they will not approve of DNA testing on the hair unless a court orders them to do so. The Texas Observer, the Innocence Project of Texas and the Texas Innocence Network joined the Innocence Project in filing the motions today.
“The San Jacinto District Attorney, who was one of the prosecutors during Claude Jones’ trial, told us this week that he will not agree to DNA testing without a court order. We are asking for an emergency order from the court that will mandate testing and prevent officials from destroying this evidence in the meantime,” said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project. “The public has a right to know whether Claude Jones actually committed the crime for which he was executed, and whether a serious breakdown in the state’s legal and political process led to a wrongful execution. Public confidence in the criminal justice system is at stake.”
Read the full Innocence Project press release here