Victims of the State

Includes all locations in Dallas County
31 Cases

Dallas County, TX 

Randall Dale Adams

Nov 28, 1976

Randall Dale Adams was sentenced to death for the murder of police officer Robert Wood. Evidence in the case pointed to David Ray Harris. However, Harris was for some reason an unsatisfactory suspect to police. Police may not have wished to charge him because he was 16-years-old and under Texas law could not be sentenced to death. At Adams' trial, Harris named Adams as the shooter, and Harris was soon back on the streets. A prosecution psychologist, Dr. James Grigson, told Adam's jury that Adams would remain an ongoing menace if kept alive. Grigson was known as Dr. Death, after having testified in more than 100 trials that resulted in death sentences.

In 1985, a young filmmaker, Errol Morris, came to Dallas to work on a documentary about Grigson. When he met Adams, Morris thought he was an unlikely killer and decided to take a closer look. Morris soon discovered that Harris had been compiling a criminal record of some magnitude. Morris discovered other problems with several witnesses who testified at Adams' trial. Because of such evidence, Adams was granted a hearing for a retrial. At the hearing in 1989, David Harris admitted that he was the killer. An appeals court overturned Adams' conviction, holding that prosecutor Douglas D. Mulder withheld a statement a witness gave to the police that cast doubt on her credibility and allowed her to give perjured testimony. Further, the court found that after Adams' attorney discovered the statement late in Adams' trial, Mulder falsely told the court that he did not know the witness's whereabouts. Adams' conviction was overturned and the prosecution dropped charges. His case is profiled in the documentary The Thin Blue Line.  (CWC)  [1/06]

 Dallas County, TX

Stephen Russell

Sept 20, 1979 (Garland)

Stephen Lynn Russell was convicted in 1980 of robbing a Long John Silvers restaurant at 1425 Northwest Highway in Garland. Two women who rode in the getaway car told prosecutors that another man, Robert Earl Wilkie, was the robber. Wilkie later confessed in a court hearing. Wilkie could not be charged with the crime as the five year statute of limitations had since expired. Gov. Clements pardoned Russell in April 1990.  (Archives)  [5/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Joyce Ann Brown

May 6, 1980

Joyce Ann Brown was sentenced to life in prison for the robbery and murder of Rubin Danziger, a Dallas fur-store owner. The crime occurred in Danziger's store, Fine Furs By Rubin, in Preston Center on Northwest Highway. After the getaway car used by the two female robbers was discovered, police found a car rental agreement in it signed by a Joyce Ann Brown. However, the car had been rented to a different Joyce Ann Brown. Police and prosecutors discovered the error before trial, but proceeded with the prosecution anyway. The victim's wife, Ala, had identified Rene Michelle Taylor, as the robber who shot her husband, and Brown as her accomplice. Taylor later revealed that another woman, Lorraine Germany, was her accomplice. Germany reportedly has a startling resemblance to Brown. Investigation also showed that a jailhouse witness, Martha Jean Bruce, had lied to convict Brown. Brown was featured on a 60 Minutes episode and was freed in Nov. 1989.  (CM) (CWC) (Archives)  [5/08]

 Dallas County, TX

James Lee Woodard

Dec 29, 1980

James Lee Woodard was convicted of the murder of Beverly Ann Jones, 21, a woman he had dated for 7 months. Jones's stepfather said Woodard had come to their home in the early morning of the day of her disappearance. Neighbors said they had heard the couple fighting. Several days before Woodard's trial, authorities learned of three other witnesses had seen Jones shortly before she died. The witnesses, Ed Mosley, Theodore Blaylock and Eddie Woodard, told investigators she had gotten into a car with several men at a 7-Eleven. Mosley and Blaylock couldn't identify the men or their car. It was the last time Jones was seen alive. This information was withheld from Woodard's defense. Jones's body was found in the Trinity River bottoms in south Dallas. She had been sexually assaulted.

In Dec. 2007, DNA test results cleared Woodard. Jones's stepfather was re-interviewed and recanted his trial testimony that Woodard had come to his house. Woodard was set free in Apr. 2008, after serving 27 years in prison. Woodard is the longest serving inmate in the United States to be released as a result of DNA testing.  (Archives)  [5/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Charles Chatman

Jan 15, 1981

Charles Chatman was convicted in 1981 of aggravated sexual assault. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison. In Jan. 2008 DNA tests exonerated Chatman after he spent 27 years in prison. Chatman became the 15th inmate exonerated by DNA tests in Dallas County since 2001. Unlike many jurisdictions, the lab used by police and prosecutors in Dallas County retains biological evidence, allowing decades-old crimes to be solved. DA Craig Watkins also attributed the large number of exonerations to a past culture of overly aggressive prosecutors seeking convictions at any cost.  (AP)  [2/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Larry Fuller

Apr 26, 1981

Larry Fuller, a decorated Vietnam veteran, was convicted of aggravated rape and sentenced to 50 years in prison. The victim was assaulted and raped in her bedroom. When police showed her photographs of potential suspects two days later, she did not identify Fuller. Several days later, police showed her a second group of photos. The photograph of Fuller was the only one that appeared in both arrays. Although the victim said her assailant did not have facial hair, and Fuller was pictured with a full beard, she identified him and he was arrested. Fuller had an alibi that was corroborated and had no record of sex crimes. He was paroled in 1999, but returned to prison in 2005 for a parole violation. In 2006, he became the 10th Dallas County man in five years freed by DNA testing.  (IP) (NBC5)  [12/06]

 Dallas County, TX

Johnnie Lindsey

Aug 25, 1981

Johnnie Earl Lindsey was convicted of rape. The 28-year-old victim was riding her bike around White Rock Lake about 11 a.m. when she saw a shirtless man in his 20s standing on the path in a wooded area. As she tried to ride past him, the man grabbed the handlebars of her bike and knocked her off. He said he had a knife and threatened to stab her if she did not do as he said. After being sexually assaulted, the woman managed to get away and ran for help.

A year after the assault, when the victim was living in San Antonio, Dallas police mailed her a six-person photo lineup. Only two of the men in the lineup were shirtless and Lindsey was one of them. The victim subsequently identified Lindsey as her assailant. At trial Lindsey had an alibi, time clock punch cards that showed that he was working in a commercial laundry at the time of the assault. Nevertheless, the jury chose to believe the victim. Lindsey was repeatedly denied parole because he would not admit to the offense. According to his attorney, Michelle Moore, “It's been almost 26 years. I can't believe he didn't just admit to the assault so he could be released.” In 2008, DNA tests exonerated Lindsey, and he was released. In 2009, Governor Perry officially pardoned him.  (DMN) (JP)  [10/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Michael Anthony Woten

Apr 16, 1982 (Dallas)

Michael Anthony Woten was convicted of the armed robbery of a Safeway supermarket at Northwest Highway near Plano Road. The store was robbed of $5200. Woten was sentenced to 55 years in prison. Five witnesses testified that he was one of two men who had robbed that store and another grocery. Woten, however, insisted he was hitchhiking from Dallas to St. Louis at the time of the robbery. He said he had got a ride with a trucker he could identify only as Don and as Kangaroo, the trucker's nickname on citizens' band radio. An inmate Woten later met by chance, Russell Everett Chamberlain, gave a statement that he committed the robbery with another man. The Dallas Times Herald then launched a search for Kangaroo, and found him. He turned out to be Don Fainter of Claycomo, MO. Fainter told authorities that he did indeed give Woten a ride on the day of the robbery. Gov. Clements pardoned Woten in Feb. 1990. Woten died eight months later after his pickup truck went out of control and overturned on a highway embankment.  (NY Times) (Archives)  [5/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Steven Phillips

May 14, 1982

Steven Charles Phillips was convicted of raping a woman and sexually assaulting two others during a burglary. The assailant's face was partially covered during the attacks. However, the rape victim identified Phillips and spoke at length about her assailant's “striking blue eyes.” Other women also told authorities that they remembered the assailant's blue eyes. However, Phillips' eyes are green. Phillips also pleaded guilty to eight additional charges for sex crimes that police said were committed by the same man who committed the rape. A defense attorney said that after being convicted of the initial charges, Phillips gave up and pleaded to the additional charges.

In 2007, DNA evidence has cleared him of the charges for which he was tried, making him the 14th person in Dallas County to be exonerated by DNA testing. A court will have to decide if the same evidence also clears him of the other charges that he pleaded to.  (DMN) (IP)  [10/07]

 Dallas County, TX

James Curtis Giles

Aug 1, 1982

James Curtis Giles was convicted of participating in a gang rape with two other men. Police knew before Giles' trial that the real perpetrator was a teenager with an almost identical name, James Earl Giles. He lived across the street from the rape victim. Police withheld two sworn statements identifying him. James Earl Giles died of cancer in 2000. James Curtis Giles was released in 1993 and is on parole until 2013. He must register as a sex offender. In early 2007, prosecutors are joining with defense attorneys to get the wrong James Giles cleared.  (IP)  [3/07]

 Dallas County, TX

Lenell Geter

Aug 23, 1982

Lenell Geter, a black engineer, spent his lunch hour reading books and feeding ducks in the park. His lunch hour activities were so suspicious that he attracted the attention of a local busybody who reported him to the police. Because of this report, Geter's photo was passed around as a possible crime suspect in the local town (Greenville) and in other towns. Geter was convicted of robbing $615 from a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Balch Springs. Five eyewitnesses testified that he was the robber. Geter's coworkers testified that he could not have committed an afternoon robbery 50 miles away in Balch Springs, because he was at work in Greenville. Geter was nevertheless convicted by a jury and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Geter's mostly white co-workers were outraged and they raised money for him and helped to garner press attention for his case including a 60 Minutes segment. The actual robber was eventually captured and confessed to seven armed robberies, including the Balch Springs robbery.  [7/05]

Dallas County, TX 

James Waller

Nov 2, 1982

James Waller was convicted of raping a 12-year-old boy, identified as Jay S.  Jay initially described his assailant as a black man, 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 150 lbs.  He said a red bandanna concealed his assailant's face. Later that day at a 7-Eleven, Jay heard his assailant's voice, and turned to see Waller. Waller is nearly 6 foot 4 inches tall and was heavy. Waller's family was the only black family living in Jay's apartment complex. At trial, Waller presented witnesses stating he was home at the time of the assault, but Waller was convicted anyway. Waller was paroled in 1993. DNA tests exonerated him of the crime in 2007, making him the 12th person in Dallas County to be exonerated by DNA tests.  (NY Times) (IP)  [2/07]

 Dallas County, TX

Keith Turner

Dec 6, 1982

Keith E. Turner was convicted of a rape, because a victim identified him visually and by his voice. Turner had provided an alibi. DNA tests exonerated Turner in 2005.  (DMN) (IP)  [9/06]

Dallas County, TX 

Billy Conn Gardner

May 16, 1983

Billy Conn Gardner was sentenced to death for the murder of Thelma Row, 64, a cafeteria supervisor at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas. Row was shot during a robbery of the school's cafeteria and died 11 days later of her injuries. Prior to the robbery, Row's co-worker, Paula Sanders, told her husband Melvin that several thousand dollars in daily cafeteria receipts were processed in a back room at the school. After prosecutors threatened to bring charges against Melvin, Melvin claimed that he invited Gardner to participate in the robbery. According to Melvin, Gardner was the robber while he, Melvin, was the getaway driver. In exchange for his testimony Melvin received complete immunity from prosecution for the murder and probation for pending forgery and firearms charges. The state also agreed not to prosecute Paula Sanders.

The assailant had worn a stocking mask. Paula, who was in the cafeteria at the time of the robbery said that she could not provide a description of the assailant, because her back was turned. However, before Row died, she described the assailant as having a “bony face ... and a two-inch goatee.” Paula had known Gardner. The state was unable to produce a single witness who recalled ever seeing Gardner with a goatee. Two other witnesses to the shooting, Carolyn Sims and Lester Matthews, the school custodian, stated the assailant had reddish-blond hair. However, Gardner had black hair. Matthews nevertheless positively identified Gardner as the shooter even though he said he had only seen the shooter for three or four seconds and did not actually identify him until his third police interview, three months after the crime.

Paula testified that she was unaware of the robbery plans but failed to mention that she received several phone calls only minutes before the robbery, and that according to Sims, she appeared “nervous and upset” after taking these calls. Gardner's lawyer never interviewed Paula and only met with his client once, for fifteen minutes, prior to jury selection. Sims was never deposed until years after the trial. Gardner was executed by lethal injection on Feb. 16, 1995.  (Atlantic) (NY Times)  [8/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Donald Wayne Good

June 9, 1983 (Irving)

Donald Wayne Good was convicted of rape after being identified by the victim and her daughter. Serological testing of the crime evidence matched Good, although it also matched a significant percentage of the white male population. Good was paroled in 1993. On parole, he was forced to live under strict sex-offender restrictions. A neighbor posted fliers around his home warning residents that he was a rapist. Good maintained his innocence, but was constantly pressured to admit his guilt during required role-playing therapy sessions. A parole officer wrote that he would never make progress until he admitted his guilt. After being jailed for violating his parole in 2002, Good applied for DNA testing, which exonerated him in 2004.  (IP)  [10/05]

 Dallas County, TX

Billy Wayne Miller

Sept 26, 1983

Billy Wayne Miller was convicted of rape based on the victim's identification of his house and car. In 2006, DNA tests exonerated Miller of the crime.  (IP)  [12/06]

 Dallas County, TX

Eugene Henton

Feb 18, 1984

Eugene Ivory Henton was charged with sexual assault. In return for pleading guilty to the crime, he was sentenced to four years in prison, of which he served 18 months. Despite his guilty plea, DNA tests exonerated Henton of the crime in 2005.  (IP)  [1/07]

 Dallas County, TX

Thomas McGowan

May 7, 1985 (Richardson)

Thomas Clifford McGowan Jr. was convicted of rape. The 19-year-old victim picked his photo from a group of seven, some in color, others black-and-white photocopies. When she tentatively picked McGowan's picture, she said Detective Mike Corley, now the assistant chief, told her, “I had to make a positive ID. I had to say yes or no.” McGowan was given two life sentences, one for rape, and the other for burglary of the woman's apartment. In April 2008, after serving 23 years of imprisonment, DNA tests exonerated McGowan and implicated another man, Kenneth Woodson. Woodson, who admitted to the crime, could not be charged because the five-year statute of limitations for the crime had expired.  (IP) (FJDB)  [5/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Martin Kimsey

May 28, 1985 (Garland)

Martin Kimsey was convicted of the stun gun robbery of a Wells Fargo security guard in front of a Garland Safeway store. Gov. Clements pardoned Kimsey in May 1990 after a federal prisoner, James Clayton Garrett, confessed to the crime.  (Archives)  [5/08]

 Dallas County, TX

David Shawn Pope

July 25, 1985 (Garland)

David Shawn Pope was convicted of breaking into an apartment and raping its inhabitant. The victim failed to identify Pope in a photo lineup, but identified him over a month later in a live lineup. The prosecution argued that a knife found in Pope's car was similar to one stolen from the victim's apartment. Messages left on the victim's answering machine after the crime were also said to match Pope's voiceprint. DNA tests exonerated Pope in 2001 and implicated a convicted rapist that was in another Texas prison.  (IP)  [10/05]

 Dallas County, TX

Wiley Fountain

Jan 15, 1986 (Dallas)

Wiley Fountain was convicted of rape after being identified by the victim even though he had an alibi witness at trial. Gov. Rick Perry pardoned him in 2003 after DNA tests exonerated him of the crime.  (IP)  [1/07]

 Dallas County, TX

Billy James Smith

Aug 7, 1986

Billy James Smith was convicted of aggravated sexual assault while using and exhibiting a deadly weapon in 1987. His conviction was based in part on an identification made by the victim's boyfriend, who did not witness the attack. Smith's sister testified at trial, corroborating his alibi. Smith was sentenced to life in prison. DNA tests eventually exonerated Smith and he was released in 2006.  (IP)  [1/07]

 Dallas County, TX

Jerry Lee Evans

Aug 29, 1986

Jerry Lee Evans was convicted in 1987 of raping an 18-year-old Southern Methodist University freshman. The victim was abducted on her way to go dancing in Deep Ellum, near downtown Dallas. Evans said that his whole defense was that when victim saw him in court, she would say it wasn't him. “Unfortunately, it didn't happen like that,” said Evans. The identification of Evans was facilitated by outdated Dallas police witness identification procedures that have since been revised. In 2009, DNA tests exonerated Evans, making him the 20th person in Dallas County exonerated by DNA evidence. Evans was released after serving 22 years of imprisonment.  (Dallas Observer) (Life) (IP)  [5/09]

 Dallas County, TX

Gregory Wallis

Jan 6, 1988 (Irving)

Gregory Wallis was convicted of raping a woman after an informant noticed that he had a tattoo similar to one described by the victim as being on her assailant. The victim identified Wallis, but DNA tests exonerated him in 2006.  (IP)  [1/07]

Dallas County, TX 

Entre Nax Karage

Sept 22, 1994

Entre Nax Karage was convicted of murdering his 14-year-old Cambodian girlfriend, Nary Na. Na was last seen at the Minyard's grocery store at Garland and Peavy roads, seven hours before her fully clothed body was found in a ravine behind the Casa Linda Shopping Center. DNA test results at the time of the trial did not match Karage, but this was consistent with the prosecutor's theory that Karage had found his girlfriend with another man and killed her in a jealous rage. A review of trial transcripts and witness statements reveals that Karage's conviction rested solely on this speculated motive. There was no other evidence. In 2004, DNA test results were run through a federal database and were found to match Keith Jordan, a man convicted of a similar crime. Gov. Rick Perry pardoned Karage in 2005.  (IP)

 Dallas County, TX

Wesley Ronald Tuley

 1995 - 1996

Wesley Ronald Tuley was tried for sexual assault after the 13-year-old daughter of his girlfriend claimed that he had molested her on a regular basis for more than a year. After a jury deadlocked on a verdict, Tuley pleaded guilty to the crime in exchange for a 10 year sentence of community supervision. He had run out of money to pay a lawyer for a second trial and he faced a long prison sentence if convicted at another trial. In addition, he had already spent 10 months in jail awaiting his first trial. More than two years later Tuley violated his community supervision with an unrelated offense and was sent to prison to serve the remainder of his 10 year sentence.

He later learned that his accuser had repeatedly recanted her story, both before and after the trial. She said she had created the story in anger at the way Tuley had treated her mother. Tuley won a hearing before the district judge who had presided over his trial. After hearing the new evidence, she ruled that it "unquestionably established" Tuley's innocence. Tuley was cleared in 2002.  (AP News) (Ex parte Tuley)  [7/05]

Dallas County, TX 

Darlie Routier

June 6, 1996 (Rowlett)

Darlie Routier and two of her sons were attacked by an intruder in their Rowlett home at 5801 Eagle Drive. The two sons died. The prosecution claimed the attack was staged and convicted Routier of murders. An investigator took steps to steer the investigation away from his son, who is now in prison for other violent crimes. Prosecutors and the courts continue to stonewall against turning over or testing evidence that will prove her innocence. A book was written about the case entitled Media Tried, Justice Denied by by Christopher Wayne Brown.  (American Justice) (JD#1) (JD#2) (www.fordarlieroutier.org) (ODR)  [6/05]

 Dallas County, TX

Simmons & Scott

Apr 7, 1997

Claude Simmons and Chris Scott were convicted of the robbery and murder of 41-year-old Alfonso Aguilar. Their convictions were based primarily on the eyewitness testimony of Aguilar's wife, Celia Escobedo, who was present in their Love Field area home when the killing occurred. The two were exonerated in 2009 after another man confessed to the crime.  (Dallas Morning News)  [12/10]

 Dallas County, TX

Morris Jones

Convicted 1998

Morris S. Jones was convicted in 1998 of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. After claiming that newly discovered evidence established that he was actually innocent, an appeals court vacated his conviction in 2001.  (Justice: Denied)  [2/07]

 Dallas County, TX

Andrew Gossett

Feb 23, 1999

Andrew Gossett was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 50 years imprisonment. The victim identified him as her assailant. She said he had a map of Texas ring on his finger, but a search of his residence turned up no such ring. A videotape recovered from a convenience store showed Gossett shortly after the attack, wearing clothing that was inconsistent with the victim's description. Gossett was released in 2007, after DNA test results proved his innocence.  (IP)  [2/07]

 Dallas County, TX

Thomas Wayne Williams

Cleared 2002

Thomas Wayne Williams was convicted of drug charges on the basis of fake evidence manufactured by Dallas police officers Quentis Roper and Daniel Maples. The officers were shaking down people for money. Williams was sentenced to life imprisonment. Gov. Rick Perry commuted his sentence in 2002.  (DrugSense) (FJDB)  [7/05]