HOUSTON – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals requested additional evidence in the Lydell Grant case on Wednesday. Grant, who spent more than eight years in prison for a murder in Houston that he did not commit, is seeking to be exonerated.
The court asked:
- That the case be remanded back to District Court
- That the District Court asks the D.A’s office to get the six eyewitness accounts at Grant’s trial to respond to Grant’s innocence claims
- That the District Court provides the TCCA with a photo of Jermarico Carter, the confessed murderer now in jail, dated from the approximate time of the murder
In 2010, Grant was accused of murdering Aaron Scheerhorn outside a bar in Montrose. He was convicted and spent nearly a decade in prison before the Innocence Project of Texas helped get the DNA evidence retested. The evidence did not link Grant to the crime and in late 2019, he was freed, but not exonerated.
After Grant was released from prison, Carter confessed to the Houston Police Department, and DNA evidence tied him to the crime.
The Innocence Project of Texas, who represents Grant, said they provided the TCCA with Carter’s confession tape more than two months ago. What’s more, a Harris County grand jury indicted Carter in connection with the murder that Grant was wrongfully convicted of.
“Having been involved in over 30 post-conviction exonerations, this is exactly what a cut and dry DNA exoneration looks like; it’s DNA 101,” said the Innocence Project of Texas Executive Director Mike Ware.
Ware said the evidence that the courts are requesting is inadmissible.
“These photo and eyewitness requests are extremely odd when the court is aware when reliable DNA testing has completely cleared our client and the actual perpetrator has confessed,” Ware said in a press release.
Ware said “for the last 20 years that“solid irrefutable DNA evidence, such as involved in this case, trumps stranger-on-stranger eyewitness identifications, particularly when it is cross-racial identification.”
According to the Innocence Project of Texas, almost 30% of exonerations nationwide have involved mistaken eyewitness identification.
In 2011, Texas changed how police perform pretrial eyewitness identifications. This law was not in effect when Grant’s case was originally tried. The Innocence Project argues, if it had been, he would have never been charged in the first place, let alone be convicted.
“Lydell was convicted largely through stranger-on-stranger, cross-racial eyewitness identification, which is now well-established to be thoroughly unreliable,” Ware said.