13th death row exoneration in Texas: Alfred Dewayne Brown released after Harris County District Attorney dismisses charges

Yesterday, June 8, 2015, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced her office was dismissing the capital murder charges against Alfred Dewayne Brown, who has spent the last decade on death row in Texas for the murders of Houston Police Officer Charles R. Clark and store clerk Alfredia Jones at a check-cashing business in 2003.  Brown consistently maintained his innocence.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Anderson didn’t have enough evidence for a new trial:

“We re-interviewed all the witnesses. We looked at all the evidence and we’re coming up short,” Anderson told reporters. “We cannot prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore the law demands that I dismiss this case and release Mr. Brown.”

Alfred Brown is the 13th person released and exonerated from death row in Texas and the 154th nationwide.

On November 5, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Brown’s conviction and death sentence after finding the Harris County District Attorney’s Office withheld material evidence favorable to his case, specifically, a record of a phone call that corroborated his claim that he was at his girlfriend’s apartment the morning the murder took place. In 2013, a homicide detective found a box of phone records in his garage that indicated Brown made the call exactly when he asserted. The file was never shared with Brown’s defense counsel during his original trial.[1]

At his trial, Brown’s attorneys presented no evidence of his alibi, and his girlfriend changed her testimony after she was threatened with prosecution by a grand jury. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office agreed that relief should be granted.

Congratulations and thanks to Houston attorney Katherine Scardino and a team of pro bono lawyers at K&L Gates who worked on Brown’s case.

[1] “Appeals court resets murder trial after finding evidence withheld,” Houston Chronicle, November 5, 2014