Convicted killer may get new trial after witness lies on stand
FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – A man serving a life sentence for capital murder may get a shot at a new trial. A Fort Bend County judge is recommending a new trial for Edward McGregor after information came to light indicating a key witness for the prosecution fabricated her story. McGregor was convicted in 2010 for the 1990 slaying of Kim Wildman in Missouri City.
“The main witness against him; her entire story was fabricated,” said McGregor’s attorney, Randy Schaffer.
Schaffer said Delores Lee, who is serving time in prison for solicitation of capital murder, told the jury she lived across the street from Wildman and was there the night she was killed.
“She overheard McGregor confess to her husband in the front yard of their home while the police were across the street processing the crime scene,” Schaffer said Lee told jurors during the trial. “That was the key piece of evidence for the state.”
Schaffer, who was not McGregor's attorney during the trial, said Lee claimed she held onto that information for 16 years but wanted to clear her conscience because she had cancer.
“It was all a fabrication,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer said Lee was never married to the man she claimed was her husband, she didn't have cancer and didn't even live in Missouri City at the time of Wildman's death.
“The house she claimed she lived in, someone else lived in, nobody on the block had even heard of her,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer said Lee claimed she saw McGregor with a bleeding scratch on his lip the night of the homicide. McGregor does have a scar over his lip and Schaffer said that piece of testimony was meant to indicate his client was possibly injured in a struggle with Wildman.
However, Schaffer said when he checked McGregor’s medical records he found his client received that scar two years after Wildman’s death.
“So (Lee) was just free-styling when she threw that in there,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer claims the Harris County prosecutor, Beth Exley, who worked with Fort Bend county prosecutors on the case didn't fully vet her witness’ story.
“That's just reckless disregard for the truth,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer also claims the prosecutor never told the jury she offered Lee and two other jailhouse snitches a chance for leniency in their cases in exchange for their testimony. Two jail inmates claimed they heard McGregor make incriminating statements.
“We vouch for the credibility of the witnesses for whom we put forth,” Channel 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said.
Wice says at very least Lee's story should been vetted before she walked into court.
“Whether it was malicious, whether it was it was reckless, whether it was negligent, whether she did it to impress Jodie Foster doesn't make any difference to me,” Wice said.
The reason a Harris County prosecutor was dealing with a case in Fort Bend County is because at the time of trial, McGregor had also been charged with the 1994 slaying of another woman. Court records show DNA linked McGregor to both women. Court records show McGregor was also suspected in the homicides of two other women, but never charged with those crimes.
Feeling the Wildman case was the strongest of the two, a decision was made to try McGregor for that homicide. Exley was a special prosecutor during the trial.
Exley told KPRC she never made any deal for leniency with her witnesses, but simply offered to notify prosecutors and the parole board of her witnesses' cooperation in the case. Exley sent KPRC a written statement: “The appeal regarding Mr. McGregor is still pending in Fort Bend County, and the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office has filed an answer for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to review, along with all of the testimony produced at trial. The Court of Criminal Appeals will ultimately decide this matter. Until they do, any rush to judgment would be irresponsible and, at best, premature. The actual record from the trial shows that the jury heard from the all witnesses with full disclosure of the witnesses’ criminal histories and pending cases so that they, the jury, could decide for themselves on the witnesses’ credibility. They also heard from another witness who testified that the Defendant admitted, during trial, to knowing Delores and her husband. The jury also heard from the Defendant, who chose to testify, and based on their verdict, apparently the jury did not find him believable."
Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey said his office has filed a series of objections to the judge’s ruling, but declined to make those public until the judge had a chance to fully review the filing. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson declined to comment.
Whether McGregor receives a new trial will be decided by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.