Man Convicted of Murder to Be Released Over Faulty Trial

Thursday, Oct 8, 2009  |  Updated 9:30 PM CDT
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Dallas DA to Release Man Over Faulty Evidence

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A Texas man sentenced to 60 years in prison is expected to be released next week after Dallas prosecutors learned that police failed to disclose evidence implicating another man.

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Dallas DA to Release Man Over Faulty Evidence

Dallas prosecutors say a man convicted in 1995 of murder and attempted murder did not receive a fair trial.
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A Texas man sentenced to 60 years in prison is expected to be released next week after Dallas prosecutors learned that police failed to disclose evidence implicating another man.

Richard Miles, 34, was convicted of murder and attempted murder in 1995. Deandre Williams and Robert Ray Johnson Jr. were shot multiple times in a car in the Bachman Lake area, according to the Dallas Morning News. Williams was killed and Johnson was permanently disabled.

Prosecutors said Miles will be freed Monday on bond while they pursue the claim that he is innocent.

Cheryl Wattley, Miles' defense attorney, said in the Dallas Morning News on Thursday that she is optimistic her client will not face another trial.

Officials said Miles' former attorney never learned that police received an anonymous tip from a woman who said her former boyfriend told her he had committed the crime and showed her the weapon he said he used.

A police report about an altercation five days before the shootings between the victims and a third person was also not disclosed.

Miles said the people who concealed the reports deserve time behind bars.

"I do believe that everyone has to be held accountable, and until action is implemented to those different individuals, this will continue to go on," he said.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office said Miles' constitutional right to due process was violated.

"It was egregious enough that we thought that this individual had a right to have a new trial," District Attorney Craig Watkins said.

"Our Conviction Integrity Unit is still investigating Richard Miles’ claim of actual innocence, however, at this point, there is no question that his constitutional rights were violated and that he definitely did not get a fair trial back in 1995 because of the evidence that was withheld,” Watkins said in a news release.

Watkins' office has acknowledged that someone else may have committed the crimes.

"We have serious questions as to whether (Miles) was convicted of a crime that was committed by someone else," said Mike Ware, the head of the county's Conviction Integrity Unit.

The key evidence in the case was an eyewitness who identified Miles as the gunman only after seeing police escort the handcuffed suspect out of a squad car. In a photographic lineup showed to the eyewitness an hour later, Miles, then 19, was the only man wearing a white tank top. Witnesses to the crime said the shooter wore a white tank top, officials said.

Miles is left-handed and was wearing jeans when arrested. Witnesses said the shooter held the gun in his right hand and was wearing shorts.

"Richard Miles was in the wrong place at the wrong time wearing the wrong colored tank top," said Jim McCloskey, president of Centurion Ministries, a New Jersey-based group that tries to free the wrongly convicted.

Miles, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder conviction and 20 years for the attempted murder conviction, has served 15 years behind bars.

"The way I made it through this here was only by the grace of God," he said.

Mile said he was with friends the night of the shootings and told police to ask his friends about it.

"He said, 'Your story checked out, but you killed that dude and you're going down,'" Miles said. "At that point, I was lost for words."

He is expected to be released on bond Monday pending a final decision from the Texas Court of Appeals, the Dallas Morning News reported.

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