Monday, August 16, 2010

Update on The Despicable Claude Jones

You may recall my post about The Despicable Claude Jones. He was certainly despicable, and he was absolutely executed, but he may have been innocent of the crime for which he was mainlined.

Despicable Jones was charged with killing a convenience store employee during a robbery. He was convicted based on the testimony of Timothy Jordan, Danny Dixon, and a 1" hair segment.

Timothy Jordan turned out to be the owner of the murder weapon. He also sold his testimony to Texas for time off. He later recanted his testimony. "I took a deal because I was scared, and I testified as to what they told me to say." Well that and the time off.

Danny Dixon is the only one of the three who admitted to being there. He was the one who threw the murder weapon in the Trinity River and helped the police find it there. He didn't get time off so much as more time to breathe. Instead of being needled for capital murder, he was sentenced to 60 years.

That leaves the 1" hair segment. Police found it on the scene. At first, the 1"-hair-segment experts said it was too small to test, but later decided it was just fine. They swore under oath that the 1" hair segment matched Mr. Despicable but neither of the other two sweethearts who were pointing the finger at Jones.

We'll see.

It turns out Texas made the mistake of not destroying the evidence immediately. That 1" hair segment has surfaced and a judge has declared that Texas must allow it to be tested for DNA matching with Jones, Dixon, Jordan, and gosh knows who else. If that 1" hair segment doesn't belong to Despicable, then it's clear he was wrongfully convicted on the basis of alleged accomplice testimony only. (That's not allowed in Texas. That's why they usually buy testimony from two or more snitches, or change their mind about the viability of a 1" hair sample as evidence.)

A failure to DNA match the 1" hair segment to Despicable Jones also leaves open the distinct possibility of  him being factually innocent of this specific crime for which he was plunged. It's possible he was never there, just as he claimed.

Texas, of course, tried to stop the hair from being tested. They did so to save money, or put the case to rest, or for the kids, or to end world hunger, or because it's just what they do and they can't help themselves anymore.

Now we just get to wait for the test results to see if Texas juiced Claude Jones for the wrong crime. I make my prediction right here and now: no DNA match.

If Texas thought the 1" hair sample matched Jones before trial, they would never have hesitated to use it against him. They had to look long and hard at that sample, under just the right light, with their tongue twisted 30 degrees clockwise, before they said "Yeah, I see it, kinda for sure. It's a match."

So that there is not confusion, I repeat my prediction.  No DNA match.

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