Is Gregory Dunagan Innocent?

by TChris

Somebody shot Barkat Ali, a convenience store owner, in front of his wife. Police developed no leads until two jailhouse snitches, hoping to get their time reduced, claimed they heard Gregory Dunagan bragging about the killing.

When Dunagan went on trial, Ali's wife was asked -- three times -- if she could identify the killer. Each time, she identified someone other than Dunagan. That fact didn't bother the Texas jury that convicted Dunagan, who is now serving a life sentence.

The jury didn't hear evidence that might have helped establish Dunagan's innocence. For instance, his parole officer saw him at home two hours after the shooting, but the parole officer didn't testify.

Another convict, who was brought back to Dallas for the trial at the request of the defense, was prepared to say he had heard the jailhouse informant plotting to set up Dunagan for a crime that he -- the informant -- had actually committed. That convict was in the Dallas County Jail and was ready to testify, but he, too, was not called to the witness stand.

Dunagan's hopes of obtaining relief from his life imprisonment were dashed by the Fifth Circuit.

A federal magistrate judge did recommend that Dunagan be granted a writ of habeas corpus, but it was denied by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court did not take the case.

With his appeals exhausted, Dunagan remains in the penitentiary staunchly declaring his innocence and insisting that he was "railroaded."

There's a good chance he's telling the truth. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is following the case, a fact that raises at least a slim hope that new evidence of Dunagan's innocence will be uncovered, and that it will persuade a court to free Dunagan from an unjust conviction.

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    Re: Is Gregory Dunagan Innocent? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:30 PM EST
    So, was this an ineffective assistance situation or problems with the DA's office and discovery to the defense of impeachment information?