News 06.12.08

Three Texas men face retrial despite claims of innocence

Anthony Graves was first convicted in 1994 and sentenced to death for his alleged role in the horrific murders of two women and four children in rural Sommerville, Texas. Graves became a suspect when another man, Robert Earl Carter, told police that the two men committed the crime together. Carter was also sentenced to death row and was executed in 2000. In 1997, however, Carter began saying publicly – and to state officials – that Graves had no role in the crime. Minutes before his execution, he said it a final time: “Anthony Graves had nothing to do with it. I lied on him in court.”

Graves’ conviction was overturned by a federal court in 2006 and he is now facing a retrial. But at the heart of legal battles leading up to the retrial is the question of whether Carter’s original testimony that Graves was involved can be presented at trial as evidence against Graves.

An article in today’s Austin Chronicle considers this question, and provides an update on Graves’ case

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In a separate high-profile Texas case that has seen years of legal wrangling, two men convicted of killing four teenage girls in Austin in 1991 are also facing a retrial despite DNA evidence that they say proves their innocence. Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott allegedly confessed to their roles in the crimes in 1999, but the men say the confessions were coerced.

An infamous photo of the interrogation shows an officer with a gun to the back of Scott’s head

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Both men were convicted – Springsteen was sentenced to death and Scott to life. Springsteen’s death sentence was commuted after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that defendants 17-year-old and younger couldn’t be executed. Springsteen’s conviction was thrown out by an appeals court in 2006 and Scott’s was tossed in 2007. The men are now facing retrials, but Springsteen’s lawyer said yesterday that DNA evidence proves his client and Michael Scott innocent.


Read the full story here

. (Austin American-Statesman, 06/12/08)

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