Thursday, October 28, 2010

JUST IN: Freed death row inmate - Anthony Graves - speaks out----Texas inmate on death row for 18 years freed

Untitled Internet Cache from an Anthony Graves site

OCTOBER 28, 2010 The following is courtesy of Dr. Rick Halperin's Death Pen. News and updates - This is such big news that I trust you won't find a longer post than usual. For more from his site keep watching here

Prosecutors blast former DA who handled Graves case

Prosecutors today blasted Charles Sebesta, the former district attorney for Washington and Burleson counties, accusing him of hiding evidence and tampering, then threatening witnesses to convict Anthony Graves of capital murder in 1994.

Graves was released from jail Wednesday after spending 18 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Answering questions about the release today, Kelly Siegler, a special prosecutor working for District Attorney Bill Parham, said the case was "horrible."

"Charles Sebasta handled this case in a way that could best be described as a criminal justice system’s nightmare," Siegler said. "It’s a travesty, what happened in Anthony Graves' trial."

Sebesta responded to the allegations today and maintained that Graves is guilty.

"I would not have tried him if I didn't believe he was guilty," Sebesta said.

Siegler said Sebesta indicted a woman without any evidence, fabricated evidence, manipulated witnesses and took advantage of victims.

Siegler said it "absolutely" was prosecutorial misconduct.

"The worst I've ever seen," she said.

Sebesta flatly denied any misconduct and responded to each allegation leveled at him by Siegler and Parham.

Siegler and the current district attorney spoke during a press conference this morning with investigator Otto Haneck and Texas Rangers Sgt. Andres De La Garza.

Graves was sent to death row for being 1 of 2 men who brutally killed a Somerville family, including 2 adults and 4 children.

Graves was convicted of assisting Robert Earl Carter in the slaying of Bobbie Davis, 45; her 16-year-old daughter, Nicole; and Davis’ four grandchildren, ages 4 to 9, on Aug. 18, 1992.

The home was then set ablaze.

Carter was executed in 2000. 2 weeks before his death, he provided a sworn statement saying that his naming of Graves as an accomplice was a lie.

He first gave investigators Graves' name days after the murders because he knew Graves was not there and could easily provide an alibi for himself, Siegler said.

She said Sebesta threatened the woman with whom Graves was asleep with when the murder occurred by saying in open court that she was a suspect in the slayings.

Sebesta said it was hardly a threat when he alerted the court that she should be advised of her rights to not incriminate herself because she was a suspect.

Seigler said Sebesta indicted Carter's wife, Teresa, without any evidence.

Sebesta said a grand jury returned the indictment after hearing that Teresa Carter had a burn on her shoulder.

Robert Carter had facial burns, which first made him a suspect because the house had been set on fire.

Sebesta also threatened Robert Earl Carter with pursuing a conviction against his wife to make him testify against Graves, Sielger said.

Sebesta denied that he had a conversation with Carter like that.

Sebesta has never believed Carter’s recantations, which began 2 days after he first gave it to police.

Sebesta retired 12 years ago. In 2009, he took out ads in 2 Burleson County newspapers calling Graves "cold-blooded" to dispute critical media reports.

"Go back and look at the evidence," Sebesta said. "He was convicted by a jury."

He said allegations of prosecutorial misconduct were "really stretching."

"I just don't see it," he said.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Graves’ conviction in 2006. A three-judge panel said he deserved a new trial after ruling that prosecutors elicited false statements from two witnesses and withheld two statements that could have changed the minds of jurors.

Since that ruling there were at least 2 special prosecutors before it has handed to Parham.

Graves eventually was returned to county jail with a bond set at $1 million, and Parham began to investigate. He hired Siegler, a former Harris County assistant district attorney, as a special prosecutor.

Siegler said Sebasta was interviewed and that he could not be convinced of Graves' innocence.

Parham said he believes there was a 2nd man involved in the murder, but that Graves "unequivocally was not one of them."

(source: Houston Chronicle)


Freed death row inmate speaks out----Texas inmate on death row for 18 years freed

A former inmate who spent 18 years on death row spoke out for the first time since his release.

Anthony Graves was released from the county jail in Brenham Wednesday after the DA dropped all murder charges against him. Graves, 45, was convicted of assisting Robert Carter in the murders of a woman, her teenage daughter and her four grandchildren in Somerville in 1992.

On Thursday afternoon, Graves held a press conference and said he was ready to rebuild his life.

"I'm ready to live, be among my family and friends. Put my life back together," Graves said.

When asked how he felt being a free man, Graves responded, "For the first few moments, first few hours, I thought that I would wake up back in the cell, it's not real to me. It's still not real to me."

After 18 years in prison, Graves said he never gave up hope.

"I had a lot of love and support, but knowing that I was innocent, there were some things I wasn't going to give them. I refuse to give them my hope and belief in myself," Graves said. "I knew I was innocent. I wasn't going to lay down and die for something they did wrong."

His lawyer, Katherine Scardino, put much of the blame of convicting an innocent man on prosecutors and investigators at the time.

"The idea that they would offer life to him a year ago is pretty amazing. I don't believe anybody investigated anything since 1992," said Scardino. "I don't believe I have ever seen such injustice."

Graves went on to say that he wants to help people in a similar situation.

"I'm going to create my own future. Doing something positive. I think this is the opportunity to help someone," he said. "I'd like to be an advocate for justice."

He said he spent his 1st day as a free man eating ribs and taking it all in, and that he kept messing up while trying to use a cell phone for the 1st time.

New details emerge

Graves' brother says he always knew he was innocent. Arthur Curry, told us he was sleeping in the same house with Graves the night of the murders, and it was that information, along with additional research by investigators as well as special prosecutor and former Harris County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Siegler, which won Graves a new trial.

In a news conference, Siegler blasted former DA Charles Sebesta, saying he encouraged Ronald Carter to lie on the stand and grossly mishandled this case. It would all eventually lead to the charges being dropped altogether.

Washington-Burleson County District Attorney Bill Parham filed the motion, dismissing the charges against death row inmate Anthony Graves.

He'd been in prison for 18 years, convicted of the mass murder of a Somerville family in 1992, during which the victims' home was also set on fire.

Graves maintained his innocence and Parham, who was not the DA at the time, now agrees with him.

"We did shift from the possibility of maybe we don't have sufficient evidence to we have no evidence to the fact that we may have an innocent man," said Parham. "It's kind of a rare situation where prosecutors without the use of DNA or any other type of evidence that dispels guilt looks at a case and says, 'There's no evidence. This man is not guilty.'"

"Charles Sebesta handled this case in a way that would be best described as a criminal justice system's nightmare," said Siegler.

Eyewitness News spoke with Graves' brother and mother at their Brenham home on Wednesday night, just a short time after Graves' family greeted him. They say there have been feelings of bitterness along the way, but now there's joy, and his freedom has been a long time coming.

"We just have to get back to starting all over again. We have to start all over again because he can't get back what he lost; that's 18 years he lost," said Doris Curry, Graves' mother.

As for former DA Sebesta, he retired 12 years ago, and we have not had opportunity yet to seek his response to what was said in the news conference.

Graves will now be eligible to get more than a million dollars from the state because of his wrongful imprisonment.

(source: KTRK-TV News)

Hope you don't mind a few more?

*Update*Anthony Graves and His Attorney To Hold (held) News Conference About Graves Release Newly released from prison Anthony Graves and his attorney will hold (held) a joint news conference in Houston at 2pm Thursday.

DA Bill Parham to Speak at News Conference here

After enduring 'hell,' Graves looks ahead: At a news conference on Thursday, former death row inmate Anthony Graves says he's ready to move on with his life after being wrongly imprisoned for 18 years.

here Texas death row inmate freed after prosecutors drop capital murder charges in 1992 slaying of family

Anthony Graves had been convicted of helping Robert Earl Carter kill six people in Somerville in 1992. Graves' conviction was based solely on Carter's testimony, which Carter recanted shortly before he was executed for the crime in 1998. Dallas News
(Which by the way would be a great place to look for more stories breaking on this event. Also, please go to the Texas Journey 2010 site since THEY ARE THERE...)

1 comment:

Connie L. Nash said...

Death Penalty Blog dot Dallas News dot com Greets the news with Joy and Disgust