The second person on Texas death row whose name has been in the news lately and who presents a very strong and credible case for innocence is Anthony Graves.
The Houston Chronicle reports the following:
Juror regrets role in capital conviction ---- A new trial could be ordered if judge in Galveston finds evidence hidden
One of the jurors who convicted Texas death row inmate Anthony Graves of capital murder 10 years ago says now that he made a mistake that keeps him awake at night.
"I have lost a lot of sleep over my decision to convict Mr. Graves, and if I had to do (it) over again, I wouldn't do it," Jim Hahn stated in a sworn affidavit for the Texas Innocence Network last week.
In an interview this week from his home in Manvel, south of Houston, Hahn said, "I don't think they proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Graves, convicted in 1994 in the deaths of 6 family members in Somerville, is awaiting a decision by a Galveston judge on whether prosecutors hid evidence that could have persuaded jurors to acquit him. If the answer is yes, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner will order a new trial.
If the answer is no, Graves could be executed for the 1992 slaying of Bobbie Davis, 45, her 16-year-old daughter, Nicole, and Davis' four grandchildren, ages 4 to 9. They were shot and stabbed inside a house, which was burned to hide the crime.
Graves' attorneys, Jay Burnett and Roy Greenwood, said changes in the law prevent courts from considering new evidence.
At the federal level, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
1996 limits those sentenced to death to a single appeal, even if new evidence is later discovered.
A state law adopted in 1995 imposes the same limit.
"You only get one bite at the apple," Burnett said.
Hahn, 56, said he and a female juror held out through a day and a half of deliberations, but he finally agreed to go along with a guilty verdict after concluding that the other jurors would never change their minds. The woman also later gave in.
Hahn said he believed then that Graves would get a new trial on appeal.
Hahn said the evidence was circumstantial, no murder weapon was found and that he had little confidence in testimony by a convicted killer and a man who claimed to have overheard an incriminating comment by Graves in jail.
Hahn said the memories of that trial came back after he saw a TV news broadcast about information indicating Graves' innocence in a two-year investigation by students from the University of St. Thomas in Houston.
The students participate in the University of Houston Law Center's chapter of the Texas Innocence Network.
Hahn phoned journalism professor Nicole Casarez, adviser to the St. Thomas students, and she sent him an affidavit form that he signed Oct. 19.
Casarez said she has been looking for the other juror who Hahn said was reluctant to convict Graves.
Of the 6 women on the jury, Casarez has found 3, all of whom say they have no regrets about their verdict.
Hahn also was critical of Charles Sebesta, former district attorney for Burleson and Washington counties, who prosecuted Graves.
"I always believed that Graves was set up by (Sebesta) because the prosecutor needed someone to take a fall," Hahn wrote in his affidavit.
Sebesta told the Chronicle, "That's not unusual, to find a juror 10 years later that wants to recant for whatever reasons. That's something the courts will have to address."