Did TX Execute an Innocent Man? We May Find Out

Claude Jones was executed in Texas in 2000.

Today, several organizations, including the Innocence Project and Texas Monthly, filed motions seeking to prevent the state from destroying a hair that could be subjected to DNA testing, the results of which might show Jones was not the killer.

The Texas Observer, the Innocence Project, the Innocence Project of Texas and the Texas Innocence Network filed motions in state court in San Jacinto County, Texas, today asking for a temporary restraining order that would prevent officials from destroying the only piece of physical evidence in the case – a hair from the crime scene – and seeking a court order to conduct DNA testing that could determine whether the hair matches Claude Jones, who was convicted of murder in 1990 and executed on December 7, 2000.


The hair, which was found on the counter in a liquor store where a man was shot and killed, was central in Jones’ trial and post-conviction appeals. An expert for the state testified at the trial that the hair was consistent with Jones’. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, narrowly upheld Jones’ conviction, in a 3-2 ruling where the majority specifically cited the hair evidence as the necessary “corroboration” to uphold the conviction.

Texas leads the country in the number of DNA exonerations.

Across the state, 29 people have been exonerated with DNA since 1994. They served a total of 354 years in prison. Nationwide, 207 people have been exonerated through DNA testing, 15 of whom were sentenced to die, according to the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law.

There are five Texecutions scheduled for September.

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  • Display: Sort:
    i don't get the impression that (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 04:24:00 AM EST
    texans are all that concerned with actual guilt, as long as they get to kill someone.

    should the hair turn out to not be from mr. jones, they'll just change their theory of the crime: he had an unknown accomplice who left the hair, while he himself left nothing.