A look inside Harris County District Court's evidence room

Room inaccessible to public, requires series of codes, keys to enter

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A series of old jail cells hidden from public view now serves as the resting place for some of Houston's most notorious murder weapons.

Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel recently allowed Local 2 an exclusive look at the evidence room maintained by the District Clerks' office for District Court.

"These are the shoes," Daniel said, regarding the carefully bagged blue pumps once belonging to Ana Trujillo.

Trujillo was convicted earlier this year of stabbing and killing her boyfriend with the heel of one of those shoes. They will be maintained indefinitely by Daniels' office in case of appeal or retrial.

Daniel said his office maintains capital case evidence indefinitely in most cases beyond the standard of state law. State Law dictates, with many exceptions, that once a defendant dies it is okay to get rid of evidence.

"We keep some items just because they are part of Harris County history," Daniel said.

For instance, Karla Faye Tucker was executed in 1998. Tucker was convicted of killing a man with a pickaxe in 1983. The wrapped axe resides within arm's reach of other famous evidence in the old Harris County Jail downtown.

The room is inaccessible to the public and requires a series of codes and keys to enter.

However, within the next few years, Daniel anticipates the evidence will be moved to a new facility in East Houston, not yet constructed.

Space is an issue. Some of the items take up a fair amount of room. The District Clerk's office is responsible for holding onto two large stoves.

One of the stoves was the ignition point of a fatal fire that killed four young children in 2011.

Home day care owner Jessica Tata was convicted and sentenced to murder for leaving the children unattended. The other stove was used for comparison's sake during her trial.

"Everything is organized according to name and case and cause number. We need to be able to find it. It is important," Daniel said.

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