DNA Test Casts Doubt on Guilt of Executed Texas Man Claude Jones

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DNA Test Casts Doubt on Guilt of Executed Texas Man Claude Jones

Post by Justice4all on Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:50 pm

DNA Test Casts Doubt on Executed Texas Man's Guilt

DNA test casts doubt on guilt of Texan executed in 2000; then-Gov. Bush wasn't told everything

By JEFF CARLTON Associated Press
DALLAS November 11, 2010 (AP)



A DNA test on a single hair has cast doubt on the guilt of a Texas man who was put to death 10 years ago for a liquor-store murder — an execution that went forward after then-Gov. George W. Bush's staff failed to tell him the condemned man was asking for genetic analysis of the strand.

The hair had been the only piece of physical evidence linking Claude Jones to the crime scene. But the recently completed DNA analysis found it did not belong to Jones and instead may have come from the murder victim.

Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, a New York legal center that uses DNA to exonerate inmates and worked on Jones' case, acknowledged that the hair doesn't prove an innocent man was put to death. But he said the findings mean the evidence was insufficient under Texas law to convict Jones.

Jones, a career criminal who steadfastly denied killing the liquor store owner, was executed by injection on Dec. 7, 2000, in the closing weeks of Bush's term as governor and in middle of the turbulent recount dispute in Florida that ended with Bush elected president.

As the execution drew near, Jones was pressing the governor's office for permission to do a DNA test on the hair. But the briefing papers Bush was given by his staff didn't include the request for the testing, and Bush denied a reprieve, according to state documents obtained by the Innocence Project.

Scheck said he believes "to a moral certainty" that Bush would have granted a 30-day reprieve had he known Jones was seeking DNA testing.

"It is absolutely outrageous that no one told him that Claude Jones was asking for a DNA test," Scheck said. "If you can't rely on the governor's staff to inform him, something is really wrong with the system."


Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=12124375
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