Man adjusts to life after freed from death row

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A formerly condemned man is starting over in Houston.

Anthony Graves, 45, was released from prison in October 2010 after spending 18 years on Texas' Death Row for a sextuple murder he did not commit.

The crime was committed by a man whose testimony helped convict Graves. That man was lying and recanted his testimony just before he was executed.

"Hell. That's what the state of Texas put me through, and that's what they're putting other people through," Graves said.

But Graves said he is not bitter.

"My injustice has been a catalyst for my purpose," he said.

Graves, who just purchased a new home in southwest Houston, was paid more than $1 million in a settlement with the State of Texas last year.

Graves is a professional public speaker who now travels the country railing against the death penalty.

"The inhumanity … we are murdering in the name of our citizens of our state. We're murdering our own kids, our own family members," Graves said.

Graves also works with the attorney who helped vindicate him, St. Thomas University professor and attorney Nicole Casarez.

"I believe in him, and I used every talent I had to make it clear he was innocent to the community, the prosecutors and the world," Casarez said

David Dow, a University of Houston professor, attorney and founder of the Texas Innocence Network assigned Graves' case to Casarez.

"Around 5 percent of the people on death row, I have serious doubts about their guilt. If one out of every 20 airplanes crashed, they would shut down the airline industry," Dow said.

Dow screens potential Innocence Network candidates, people who may have been wrongly convicted, with Graves' help.

"He and I are both committed to fixing the system, not just particular cases, but fixing the system," Dow said.

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