Brelyn Sorrells was halfway through his murder trial, meeting with his attorney at the Hays County Jail, when they got a call from the prosecution.
A video had been found. ...
Sorrells, 21, knew that video, recorded at a party where he was accused of stabbing 20-year-old Arthur Martinez to death, was the key to his exoneration. It had been self-defense, he said.
The video had sat in evidence, unwatched for more than 15 months ... because the digital file had a time stamp indicating it was shot hours after the fight had happened. Investigators had not realized that it was stamped in Greenwich Mean Time, not Central Standard Time, a possible glitch in the phone or the data, police said.
“Nobody viewed the video because it was thought that it was not relevant to the trial,” Williams said.
According to court documents, the video was part of the large batch of evidence turned over to the defense in May 2013. But Payan said the video wasn’t part of the evidence he received.
It was at the end of the fourth day of the trial, May 15, that prosecutors alerted Payan to the video. It was the same day prosecutors had discovered it actually showed the fight in question. It is unclear why or how the video came to light. Officials with the DA’s office have refused to comment beyond an official statement that was issued this week.
“In this case, the main issue was always whether or not the defendant acted in self-defense,” the statement said. “A grand jury heard evidence and determined that there was probable cause to indict the case.”
The grand jury indicted Sorrells in May 2013, before the video came to light. ...
A [petit] jury took nine hours to find him not guilty. They told defense attorneys that the video had significantly contributed to their decision.Better late than never, I suppose, but wow! Talk about your eleventh hour Brady disclosures!