By Alan Bean
Note: Dave Mann has written a well-researched feature story on this case for the Texas Observer.
Not that most Americans would care, but it appears that Texas executed another innocent man in 2000. This story from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram relates the sad fate of Claude Jones, a St. Jacinto man convicted of killing a liquor store clerk in the course of an armed robbery in 1989.
Prosecutors showed the jury a single hair that they claimed belonged to Jones. They couldn’t be sure, mind you, and no DNA test was conducted, but they were pretty sure.
But that wasn’t enough for a conviction, corroborating testimony was required. Enter Timothy Jordan. In exchange for a lenient sentence, he testified that he had served as an accomplice and that Jones was the trigger man.
Three years after Jones was executed, Jordan recanted his testimony. Need you ask why? He was threatened with dire consequences if he refused to cooperate with prosecutors. We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we?
George W. Bush was fixin’ to leave the governor’s mansion for bigger and better things when he gave Jones’ execution the thumbs up. No one on his staff mentioned that the hair that so impressed jurors had not been tested.
Now it has and we know for a fact that the hair did not belong to Jones. (more…)