A state judge has ordered East Texas prosecutors to hand over key evidence from a 1989 murder case to the Innocence Project and The Texas Observer for DNA testing—analysis that may prove for the first time that Texas executed an innocent man.
The Innocence Project and the Observer filed suit in 2007 to obtain a strand of hair from the scene of a homicide 21 years ago at a liquor store in San Jacinto County. The one-inch hair was key evidence that supposedly implicated Claude Howard Jones in the killing. Jones was put to death on Dec. 7, 2000—the final execution overseen by then-Gov. George W. Bush.
On June 11, 2010, Judge Paul Murphy issued a one-page order, granting the Innocence Project and Observer’s motion for summary judgment in the case and commanding the San Jacinto district attorney’s office to turn over the hair for DNA testing. Prosecutors can appeal the decision.
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