Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dupree and Massingill: Spence and Melendez

Cornelius Dupree is free from prison after serving 30 years in Texas for a rape he did not commit. DNA testing proved he was innocent.

Anthony Massingill remains in prison. He was convicted for the same crime as Dupree, an alleged accomplice. The DNA testing that freed Dupree also exonerated Massingill. Massingill remains in prison, however, for a second rape he claims he did not commit. He hopes that DNA will soon exonerate him in that case as well.

David Wayne Spence is dead, executed by Texas in 1997 under the watchful eye of George W. Bush for the murder of three teenagers at Lake Waco. David Spence was almost certainly innocent of the crime for which he died. I calculated his actual innocence score to be 90.

Anthony Melendez is alive, serving two life sentences in Texas. He was convicted for the same crime as Spence, an alleged accomplice. Melendez sold his testimony against Spence to Texas in exchange for his life. It's always a buyer's market when you hold the power of life or death over your potential customers.

Cornelius Dupree and Anthony Massingill are fortunate to now have the attention of The Innocence Project and the Dallas District Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit. They certainly don't need the help of a little known blogger.

David Wayne Spence is dead. There's nothing anyone can do to help him.

Anthony Melendez is alive, serving two life sentences for a crime he almost certainly didn't commit. Everyone has forgotten about him, or has never heard of him. Perhaps I'll spend some time this year writing about his case.


Anonymous said...

If this is correct then Anthony Melendez is guilty of the murder of David Wayne Spence, and so deserves to stay in prison for the rest of his life.

tsj said...

I see your point.

Would you then consider the people who extracted that false confession from Melendez, under the threat of death, to be accomplices to Spence's murder?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would. At least if your account of the case is accurate (as I presume), the prosecution surely knew that it was using manufactured evidence, so they are clearly guilty as well.

tsj said...

Very interesting, and certainly even-handed.

It's also properly cautious, assuming that I (or anyone) is relaying the story properly to you.

Since I wrote my initial post on Spence, I have all the trial transcripts and many case documents on line. I have also heard recently from the ex-wife of the man who prosecuted the cases, and I have her permission to mention that.

I am committed to reviewing and organizing all the evidence I now have available to me. While I do that, I will attempt to return to a mental state of having no preconceived notions of guilt nor innocence.

I have no idea, however, where I will find the time to do this work.

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