Friday, February 14, 2014

DA's files lost in Ed Graf arson case

The McLennan County District Attorney's Office has lost the files from Ed Graf's original trial in which he was convicted based on junk science of murder by arson, the Waco Tribune Herald reported this week (Feb. 12):
Prosecutors are required to turn over to the defense exculpatory evidence, or material that could be favorable or tend to exonerate a defendant.
But because District Attorney Abel Reyna and Vic Feazell, the former district attorney who tried Graf in 1988, have said the original DA’s office file cannot be located, Graf’s attorney, Walter M. Reaves Jr., is seeking dismissal of the charges.

Graf, 61, who won a new trial from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is set for trial May 19 in Waco’s 54th State District Court.
“Defendant suggests that his trial cannot proceed without the assurance that any evidence which points to his innocence has been produced,” Reaves wrote in his motion to dismiss the charges. “That assurance cannot be given.”

Judge Matt Johnson has not ruled on Reaves’ motion.
Graf's was one of the cases reviewed by the state fire marshal in which the conviction was found to have been based on since-debunked arson indicators now known to be junk science. See extensive coverage of Graf's case from The Texas Observer.


Anonymous said...

Vic Feazell, what a scumbag.

Anonymous said...

LOL, we know what happened to the files. And we know we can expect more of this in the future.

Please join with your fellow prosecutors during the 2014 Prosecutor Trial Skills Course, where the esteemed Charles Sebesta will be our guest speaker and provide hints on cleaning and destroying old files after a verdict.

Don't take a chance on your misconduct coming back to haunt you decades after a successful frame job.

Registration underway now:

See you there!

PAPA said...

If no evidence, then set him free, that will stop this type of corrutption

Anonymous said...

The damning indictment of the prosecutorial system is the stubborness and recalcitrance of prosecutors in forcing a guilty plea instead of a trial, refusing to admit error, hiding evidence and convicting the innocent. Used to be that the public was properly sceptical of the claims of innocence from prison. Now the stats look like its almost 20% of folks inside are not the people who actually did the crime.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Now the stats look like its almost 20% of folks inside are not the people who actually did the crime."

Almost certainly an overstatement. My own, personal estimate is that perhaps 1.5-2.5% of Texas' 150,000 or so prison inmates did not commit the offense for which they are imprisoned. See a discussion of various estimates here.

Anonymous said...

Grits: I bet if you toss in the folks who are confronted with pleading guilty to a lesser sentence, but still a felony, opposed to a trial before an aggressive judge that the numbers would get to 20% in no time. DA Matt Bingham and Judge Jack Skeen in Smith County do this all the time. I personally know several innocent people who have pled guilty up here rather than face a sure conviction and maximum sentence. I repeat again: they were INNOCENT.

And do the Feds do this? Heck, it's ALL THEY do.

Anonymous said...

I bet they were using it for in-office target practice.


Anonymous said...

matt "Kim Jong-un" bingham and his pre-civil war team of combatants are the cause of 20% plus pleading guilty to a felony instead of going to trial and found guilty in their North Korean style of justice.The travesty purveyors in Tyler, Smith county, Texas should face charges over atrocities.

Anonymous said...

Grits, in the GFB article you linked to in the comments dated back in 2011 you said - …“And whatever rate one decides is fair to apply to the prison population, the rate among probationers is likely a little higher because of the incentive innocent people have to take a deal to avoid incarceration.”

Of the 1.5 - 2.5 you suggest, do you happen to know what percentage of those were on probation at time of arrest on a new unrelated charge?

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Grits, Regarding the Art of Shredding 101 & Exhibit clerks and those that clerk on the side.

Take it from me; I've learned that it’s practiced state-wide, openly and through clerks eager to be part of the gang. As can be seen, when Applications are filed for Full Pardons - for / based on innocence, where they are required to purchase copies of the police incident reports and certified case files. Sadly, when the files are discovered to be incomplete an attempt to contact the clerk of court directly leads to being told, "you were sold the entire case file". When one tries to inform them that it’s missing key documents they will simply hang up. Those filing anyway will be Denied and required to wait two years to re-file where they will be surprised to learn that more documents are missing.

Is it simply following orders, clerical mistakes, misconduct, or is it a criminal act to assist an ADA's endeavor to hide or destroy records? You decide.

*If the ADA of Record is Mr. Casey J. O'Brien (the ada tied to 29 cases of missing evidence & files in Harris County reported in the Chron.) & the Exhibits clerk is M. Vasquez? Save your money, she's shredded everything with their names on it. Who knew that Exhibit clerks had the power to destroy firearms without any documentation showing where, when & how? Leading me to wonder, who Graf’s ADA of Record has in his pocket and how many clerks have arsenals? Thanks.

Unknown said...

One of the missing case files is for my Brother Ignaico Alvarado, How can I help him?

Unknown said...

My brother Ignacio ALvarado is one of the 29 cases missing, How could I help him. He is innocent, and was scaird into signing for his time, with the threat of 40 years.

Wigmama said...

I just read every witness account from the day of the fire and there are FOUR reports stating that the door to the shed was open. One witness describes it in detail, including how the flames were "rolling out the opening". How can he plead guilty to locking the boys in and killing them if the evidence shows that the doors were open? I started reading these documents believing that he was guilty but I finished with a different opinion. There's some shady business going on. I do not believe that he was a fine upstanding citizen nor do I believe that he was a good father but I'm having trouble believing that he's a cold-blooded, child murderer. At the very least, I don't believe that I could convict him beyond a shadow of doubt.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this blog? According to prosecutors in McLennan County, there are THREE cases in which the trial boxes are missing:
Ed Graf
The Lake Waco Triple Murder
Henry Lee Lucas

Since the entire Lake Waco Triple Murder is on VIC FEAZELL's Website,, he obviously took those, and obviously took the rest of them too.

Books and lawyers don't mix. Feazell doesn't want to give up being a hero for the truth.

Can't wait till the DNA proves Melendez and the rest didn't do it so Feazell, now an actor, can do his impersonation of Ken Andersen of Georgetown.