Monday, October 05, 2009

Michael Toney killed in auto accident one month off death row

This news is either ironic or tragic, but either way an interesting, sad twist to an already unfortunate saga:

The overturned conviction for a 1985 bombing against Michael Toney in Tarrant County was secured using a jailhouse snitch and apparent prosecutorial misconduct, evidence which later fell apart on appeal resulting in his release from death row last month. Prosecutors said they planned to retry him, but Toney died in a single-vehicle auto accident on Saturday, so they may never know at the end of the day exactly what happened. Reports the Star-Telegram:

The case went unsolved for 14 years until a Parker County jail inmate told authorities that Toney confessed while serving time there on unrelated charges. The prisoner soon recanted, saying he made up the story to win early release.

No physical evidence connected Toney to the bombing. He was convicted largely on the testimony of his ex-wife and former best friend, who said they saw him plant the bomb.

Another prisoner, who also later recanted, testified that Toney told him that he was paid $5,000 to plant the bomb but that he left it outside the wrong trailer.

Later, Toney’s defense team uncovered 14 documents that Tarrant County prosecutors withheld from his defense during the trial, including records suggesting that investigators may have crafted witnesses’ accounts.

His attorneys have called Toney’s conviction one of the most "egregious cases" they have seen.

In December, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Toney’s conviction, saying his trial was unconstitutional because Tarrant County prosecutors improperly withheld evidence.

The Tarrant County district attorney’s office recused itself from the case. In September, the Texas attorney general dropped the charges against Toney but retained the option to retry the case after further evaluation of the evidence.

Toney was released from jail Sept. 2.

An official with Autry Funeral Home in Jacksonville confirmed Sunday that it is handling Toney’s funeral but that no dates have been set.

On Sunday, a supporter wrote in an e-mail that in his one month of freedom Toney was painting his house in Rusk. He had also bought a pickup and gotten a dog from an animal shelter.

"Michael really enjoyed living out in the country, and he was a country boy at heart," the e-mail said. "His future looked very promising."

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

karma baby

Anonymous said...

Sad either way you look at it.

Anonymous said...

Karma?

In what way?

Even if the man did it, the law is pretty damn explicit- unless they can haul that snitch into the courtroom and keep his testimony at trial from being impeached, anything that is used as a basis from that man is inadmissible, per Crawford v. Washington. Hearsay is largely not admissible in Court and as a basis for probable cause in an investigation as it runs afoul of the Confrontation clause in the Sixth Amendment. Before you say the State's not held to it, I will remind that the Fourteenth Amendment EXPLICITLY holds the States to the same rules on that score.

Anonymous said...

The older I get the less I think of people in general. This jailhouse snitch issue is just another good example of the stupidity and hypocrisy of many jurors. Didn't the legislature pass a law requiring corroboration for testimony provided by jailhouse snitches? I think they did. My question is why did they need to? Many jurors (not all) would flat out shut their ears to testimony from someone incarcerated that was testifying for a defendant. But yet put them on the stand testifying for the prosecution and all of a sudden their word is gospel. Pure hypocrisy and stupidity. If jurors were fair minded and had some critical thinking skills there wouldn't have been a need for the legislature to require corroboration. Jurors should just have the common sense to give this type of testimony little weight without corroboration. The jurors who convicted this guy on that type of testimony should feel guilty tonight. They won't though. They'll go about their lives just as if nothing had happened. They probably won't give the fact that they robbed this man of many years of his life just because of their own stupidity.

I know for a fact that Smith County routinely makes undisclosed deals with jailhouse snitches. The upstanding, self righteous citizens who serve on Smith County jurors are absolutely clueless. Let someone with a criminal record testify in favor of a defendant. Well, they must be lying because they have a criminal record. But let a jailhouse snitch testify for the prosecution and their testimony is gospel.

Anonymous said...

Robbed this man of years of his life? Are you seriously deranged!! He killed 3 people and you are feeling sorry for him? Anyone who only knows half the story should keep their comments to themselves. How did that so-called snitch know about the crime? Oh, because Mike had told him about the explosion. An explosion that took place 12 years prior. Unless Mike was involved with the crime how would he remember the explosion. Did you?

Anonymous said...

To the individual that questioned how could a jury convict a person based on a snitch's testimony; the jury convicted Mike based on the testimony of the two individuals that were with him the night this horrible crime took place. No the jury should not feel guilty, they did their job. It is too bad everyone lives in Hansel and Gretel homes and believes the good in people all the time. Try living with someone like that for just a month and then state how innocent and wonderful these people are. God Bless those who support the individuals who had to testify to such a crime and live with the guilt of wondering if they could have stopped this from happening.

Anonymous said...

It is too bad everyone lives in Hansel and Gretel homes and believes the good in people all the time.

Yes, its too bad some people believe that prosecutors and police officers are always honest and no one is ever wrongly accused.

By the way, don't assume you know what kind of life I live or what I have or have not experienced. Believe me, you just don't know.

Anonymous said...

How did that so-called snitch know about the crime?

I don't know but I know if he were in Smith COunty it would be more than likely because the DA told him about it, told him exactly what to say, then offered him a deal for his perjured testimony. Of course he would have been instructed to deny that deal on the stand. Don't believe it happens? Happens all the time.

Anonymous said...

How did that so-called snitch know about the crime?

Anyone who asks such a stupid question should keep their comments to themselves.

Anonymous said...

Later, Toney’s defense team uncovered 14 documents that Tarrant County prosecutors withheld from his defense during the trial, including records suggesting that investigators may have crafted witnesses’ accounts.

If this guy were so guilty why did the DA need to cheat? If he were guilty why did the police need to "Craft" witness accounts? What was in those 14 documents?

9:07 wants to call people deranged but his opinion is obviously the result of a lack of critical thinking skills. He's a Koolaid drinker.

Anonymous said...

9:07 here's another lesson in critical thinking skills for ya.

The prisoner soon recanted, saying he made up the story to win early release.

You think this guy was credible the first time, yet you apparently believe he was lying when he recanted? What was his motive for lying the first time? I'll give you a clue, he told you what it was - "to win early release". What was his motive for lying the 2nd time? There is not an apparent one.... Now.......not only 1 but both jailhouse snitches recanted.......hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
think about it 9:07. It's exactly what I said before. You are eager to believe the jailhouse snitches when they are testifying against the defendant but dismiss their testimony when it goes the other way. Hypocrisy and stupidity 9:07.

Anonymous said...

One more thing 9:07. If this is such a slam dunk, why did the AG's office drop it? I guess they are deranged also, huh?

Boyness said...

"I know for a fact that Smith County routinely makes undisclosed deals with jailhouse snitches. The upstanding, self righteous citizens who serve on Smith County jurors are absolutely clueless."
____________________________________

TEXANS are CLUELESS...this is how Rick Perry is Governor and the absolute CRAP that passes for justice gets a passing grade day after day. No one cares until they are facing wearing WHITE and then once they have it on...there voices DONT MATTER.

Call me an emotional basket-case...whatever...it's a F@#&&D UP MESS no matter how you size it!

Mark # 1 said...

I am very often concerned that these police-state anons whose posts routinely get rejected to half court and whose arguments are an insult to half-baked might possibly be prosecutors. From the police, I somewhat expect such tomfoolery; the possibility that prosecutors are unable to use rational thought is disturbing.

Anonymous said...

R.I.P fella

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. fella'

the people who has fabricated evidinces to convict you may have roll in this accident.

no body has even asked for it.


but it was about a governmental horror plan against texas freedom front, but the briefcase has exploded early than it had been planned to be. ask about the agents of federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if they are still alive actually, who has investigated the crime. they were not investigating they forced the ex-wife of Toney and her new friend who was ex-bussines partner of Toney to testim.
Anyway, sometimees for bigger plans little people could loose their lifes for nothing. it is not a tv serial but truth...

also in this centuary still "sentence of death" oo great states i still love u...

http://www.michaeltoney.com/index.html

Anonymous said...

They say a bullet never lies... I suppose cars don't either...

Anonymous said...

God weeded what man wouldn't

Anonymous said...

The first post said it best, karma baby.

sunray's wench said...

There are none so blind as those who will not see

Anonymous said...

personally, I didn't like Michael....but I have to laugh at all the Pro-DPs making commits about him being guilty when a JUDGE of all people thought there wasn't enough evidence to keep him on DR or evidence tampered with....whatever you want to call it. There goes your PRO arguement about the system working since you like it is, LMAO.....

In other words, in case you pros don't get it....your arguements are contridicting that arguement you always use, and I'll say it again.....it shows that the system works.....

Anonymous said...

Ms. Blount still has no closer even though Micheal Toney's dead........

Anonymous said...

Listen to all you karma believers an people who just don't know I feel sorry for you I spent every day except a week of his life with him when he was freed an he turned out to be a respectful an good man considering the hell he's been through an his death was a total accident I know you all have no idea an what a great loss to his children an friends God called him home not the state of Texas !!! Rest in peace now !!!!

Anonymous said...

that is extremely messed up that you would even dare to say something like that.

that man is my father, fuck you.

Anonymous said...

Michael we love you and miss you so much !!!!! This is not over and someone will be responsible for taking 13 years of his life away from his children and family they say time heals but so far it hasn't it is so hard !!! I love you cowboy and we're gonna fight to clear your name 100 % Rest in Peace !!!!

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Keith said...

Even without the murder case, he deserved to be in prison. Here is his history before he was convicted for the bombing.

Prior Prison Record
TDCJ-ID #526889 on an 8-year sentence for 1 count of Burglary of a Habitation; 07/23/90 released on Parole; 09/13/91 returned from Parole with new conviction of 7 years concurrent for 1 count of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle; 8/21/92 released on Parole; 3/1/94 returned from Parole with a new conviction of 5 years for Theft of Property $750/20,000; 07/21/95 released on Mandatory Supervision; 04/24/97 returned from Mandatory Supervision with new conviction and new number, remainder of sentence as TDCJ-ID #526889 is current; #782203 on a 5-year sentence for 1 count of Burglary of a Habitation; 06/09/97 released on Bench Warrant; 12/11/97 returned from Bench Warrant ; 01/06/98 released on Bench Warrant; 01/09/98 new commitments received sentence begin date 07/13/93 on a 9-year sentence for Burglary of a Habitation; 08/11/98 returned from Bench Warrant; 08/21/98 departed on Mandatory Supervision.

This guy was no saint and deserved to rot in jail for longer than he served.

darrell said...
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darrell said...
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Anonymous said...

"it shows that the system works"...
Hummmm ...yes, for once it worked, in front of the international firm
O'Melvenny and Myers, from San Francisco, with seven lawyers coming to Fort Worth to face the corrupt Tarrant county "justice"!
It worked because the so-called justice was afraid for its PRESENT elections (November 2O1O).
You, and your medias ignore many things that we, the Defense Committee, know about the non-official conduct of the Tarrant County "justice" in that case.
And do you agree with the law giving immunity civil AND PENAL to prosecutors? Parrish is "retired".
How good! And the other two: Meyer and Wynn?These 3 and the 3 investigators, guilty of attempted
murder against M. Toney though they KNEW from the beginning that
he was innocent!Are not they "a danger for society"? What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Those here who are giving a comment without knowing ANYTHING about the case (for instance:"how did the so-called snitch know about the crime?")go and read

www.michaeltoney.com.

Anonymous said...

Somebody knows who did the bombing. But to be an informant is dangerous.
Like Lamont REESE left a letter to be open after his murder by TX, explaining he was not on the place of the shooting,
May we hope that a letter will be left behind the one who knows?....
for the Blounts' sake!

Anonymous said...

Two years ago, Michael was on the ground, killed by his truck. Our thoughts are around that place and near Jessica, Tammy and the hispanic couple living near by , who cared for him.We are all there,his Texan and Californian lawyers, his investigators,Mary-Kathryn, M. Bill, Denise,Joe from Mississipi,Rick his brother,Jeromy his son,, Hope his daughter, Haylee his grand daughter, Micah (grand son, 5 years old to day), his doctor, his psychologist, and the death row inmates still in shock. From France, Rodolphe and Marie,Mme Marcus (100 years this year)Mme Saladin, Myriam, Claudia, Agnès,Thierry,Michèle, Rina, Alain et Chantal...about two hundreds supporters.
Michael, for ever in our hearts.

"Mom"

Anonymous said...

R.I.P Michael. Your story caught my attention out of nowhere and I was happy to read that you were released but was sad to find out that you passed away only a month later.