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Friday, 31 October 2014

Two Dallas Men Released After Serving 15 Years

Stanley Mozee and David Allen
Stanley Mozee (left) and David Allen greet family & supporters outside the courtroom. (Photo credit: Lara Solt)

Dennis Lee Allen and Stanley Orson Mozee walked out of a Dallas County courtroom Tuesday after the judge ruled that their murder convictions from 2000 should be overturned based on previously withheld evidence. The Innocence Project and the Innocence Project of Texas had petitioned for the pair’s release based on evidence that suggests serious prosecutorial misconduct as well as the favorable results of recent DNA testing on bloodstains and other key evidence from the crime scene. District Attorney Craig Watkins and his Conviction Integrity Unit agreed that the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence and joined the lawyers for Allen and Mozee in seeking Tuesday’s ruling that the pair did not receive a fair trial on that basis.

Allen and Mozee were convicted of the 1999 murder of Reverend Jesse Borns Jr., despite a lack of physical evidence or any eyewitnesses connecting them to the crime. The prosecution relied on testimony from jailhouse informants and an unrecorded confession from Mozee, who has a history of mental illness and immediately recanted, saying he was coerced into signing a statement.

Post-conviction DNA testing found no trace of DNA from the two men on multiple items recovered from the scene, however DNA from one or more persons that doesn’t match to the victim, Allen or Mozee was discovered on several items. Further, letters were discovered in the former Assistant District Attorney’s case file from jailhouse informants indicating that they had been promised reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony. These informants, who claimed to have heard Allen and Mozee admitting to the murder, swore to the jury that they didn’t receive, or even seek, favorable treatment for their testimony. These letters were never disclosed during the 2000 trials despite orders from the judge to turn over prior statements made by all witnesses and all evidence favorable to the defense. The two inmates both received lenient sentences for the crimes they were facing and have since told defense attorneys their initial testimony was false.

Read more on the case.

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