Washington-Burleson County District Attorney Bill Parham dismissed the case after he and his team investigated the case for five months.
The only witness against Graves was the actual killer in the incident, a man who recanted his testimony to prosecutors the night before Graves' trial, but was threatened with prosecution of his wife if he did not go ahead and accuse Graves of being his accomplice. Students from the"He’s an innocent man," Parham said today. "There is nothing that connects Anthony Graves to this crime." He said the dismissal was just.
"I did what I did because that’s the right thing to do, and I’m fine with it," he said.
An attorney for Graves, Jimmy Phillips, Jr. said his client was released about 5:30 p.m. "The first place he wanted to go is to go hug his mama," Phillips said. "He is a free man and he’s home."
Kelly Siegler, a prosecutor hired to re-try Graves, agreed with Parham.
"After months of investigation and talking to every witness who’s ever been involved in this case and people who’ve never been talked to before, after looking under every rock we could find, we found not one piece of credible evidence that links Anthony Graves to the commission of this capital murder," Siegler said.
"This is not a case where the evidence went south with time or witnesses passed away or we just couldn’t make the case anymore. He is an innocent man."
It's interesting to note the language used by the prosecutors in the story, declaring they could find "not one piece of credible evidence." That's particularly significant because Deputy Keith Pikett's infamous dogs reportedly picked out Graves in a "scent lineup," but clearly prosecutors, to their credit, don't consider that evidence "credible."
Congratulations to Graves and his attorneys and kudos especially to the students whose research led to this jaw-dropping turn of events, not to mention the latter-day prosecutors who finally admitted (better late than never) that Graves is actually innocent. For more background on the case, check out Jeff Blackburn's guest post on Grits published while I was on vacation and an excellent Texas Monthly feature by Pam Colloff.
See prior, related Grits posts:
- Progress and its Discontents, or what I learned from an article in Texas Monthly
- 'Scent lineup' evidence may be used in Anthony Graves capital murder case
- Tales from death row: Passion and intrigue marked two capital murder trials
- Blog: Four of 10 worst US prosecutors in Texas
- Prosecutors improperly withheld confession in death penalty case