Freed death row inmate speaks out

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Former death row inmate Alfred Brown enjoyed time with family, and dining out as he spent his first full day of freedom in over a dozen years. But he's also apprehensive as Houston police say they'll continue to focus on him as a suspect in the 2003 slaying of a fellow officer.

"The D.A. got me there with no evidence the first time, so he can do the same old tricks, and put me right back there," Brown said.

Brown said he hasn't slept since his release Monday evening after Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced she would not seek to retry him for the murder of Houston Officer Charles Clark in 2003.

He spent the night watching movies with his nephews.

"They had to also show me how to operate the phones and the TV. It's complicated," Brown said.

He's planning to live with his mother in Louisiana. Beyond that he says he hasn't made any plans for his life, other than to spend time with his teenage daughter.

"When you're in a place like that, you don't look at that situation.You basically want to look at how you want to make it through the next day," he said.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Brown's conviction on capital murder charge in November. Following a 6-month investigation, Anderson announced there wasn't enough evidence to retry Brown, and would not pursue the charge against him.

"I went there as an innocent man and I came out as an innocent man," Brown said Monday.

Sources close to the case said one witness has died, another is no longer able to testify and others recanted. The investigation remains open, and Houston police have made it clear they still consider Brown a suspect.

"We are completely convinced we have the right person," Houston police officers Union President Ray Hunt said. "We simply need to get those witnesses to come forward to let us get evidence in and send it to a jury and they will once again send this person to death chamber where he belongs."

Hunt said he'll ask the union's board to put up a sizable reward to encourage witnesses to come forward when the board meets in August.

We believe there is a mountain of evidence against him." Hunt said. "We believe there are people who haven't come forward yet. And we believe there are persons who are scared and realize it's the right thing to do and testify regardless of being fearful of what could happen to them or their family."

"You cannot look at that seriously, there is nobody else." Brown's attorney Katherine Scardino said."Where are they going to investigate> They already said in the announcement yesterday that they interviewed every single witness in this case."

Prosecutors said Brown and two other men were robbing a check-cashing store when they shot and killed the store clerk, Alfredia Jones, and then Officer Charles Clark, who responded to the scene.

Brown claimed that he was innocent and that he had an alibi that could prove it. He said he was at his girlfriend's house and made a call from a landline phone. But phone records were never produced during the trial or shared with the defense.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office found the phone records in 2013 during a post-conviction review of the case. They were in the garage of a homicide detective.

The office then turned over the evidence to Brown's defense attorneys, who filed a new appeal on his behalf.

"There's a rule that requires prosecutors to show the defense any evidence that would tend to show innocence, and that was not done in this case," said Sandy Thompson, a professor at the University of Houston's Law Center.

Hunt says the phone records are a double edged sword that could aid prosecutors should they file new charges against Brown.

"I think in the long run the phone records are going to be a smoking gun for the prosecution. Because I think its going to show exactly what we believe that this killer was at another location when he made that call," Hunt said.

"Once the case was overturned,why do we have to investigate over and over?" Scardino asked.

Brown's appellate attorney, Brian Stolarz, insists, "Here sits an innocent man. It's time to move on from this matter and let this man live his life."

There is no statue of limitations for the charge of capital murder. Anderson said the investigation remains open, and HPD Chief Charles McClelland says Alfred Brown remains a "person of interest."

"Far as me speaking negative, or me speaking anything, it's not worth it. I'm just going to live my life and hope everybody else lives theirs," Brown said.

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