FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Walter Roy has been released on bond after spending nearly half of his life in prison for a crime that Tarrant County police and prosecutors now agree he did not commit.
Roy was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder and engaging in organized crime. In 1995, he accompanied two other men, Edric Davis and Benny Lemmons, to Echo Lake Park to buy marijuana. When two cars suddenly arrived on the scene, Lemmons allegedly opened fire, thinking that the trio was about to be robbed. No one was killed, but the trio fled the scene. Only Roy was later arrested.
No physical evidence was found at the scene linking Roy to the crime. Despite questionable police work and significant discrepancies between witness statements, Roy was ultimately convicted. "He was a Black man in Tarrant County, in a bad situation with bad people, and they said this good enough for us," said Roy's attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, on the fact that little was done to investigate his case.
Six separate witnesses now all say that Lemmons was the shooter, not Roy, and one witness even alleged that Roy had tried to take the gun away from the shooter, providing further proof that he had no intent to commit a crime that night.
In May 2020, Tarrant County DA Sharen Wilson, Sheriff Bill Waybourn, and the judge overseeing Roy's case requested Roy's sentence be commuted to time served. In August of 2020, the Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to recommend clemency, but Governor Abbott, who has only once granted clemency since taking office, denied the request without explanation.
As the clemency claim was ongoing, Roy's attorneys filed an appeal with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, requesting that the court declare that Roy is "actually innocent" and toss out his conviction. When the governor denied clemency to Roy, prosecutors began to work with Roy's attorneys to amend Roy's appeal by adding a claim that his constitutional rights had been violated through false testimony used to convict him.
Unfortunately, Roy's appeal was inexplicably denied by the court before the appeal could be amended. Defendants generally only get one chance to present all possible claims that can be raised. Despite this legal conundrum, attorney Mark T. Lassiter, along with Tarrant County prosecutors and the Innocence Project of Texas, have continued to argue that there are legal grounds for the court to hear Roy's appeal.
While the Court of Criminal Appeals considers whether it will hear the appeal, Roy's attorneys were successful in securing bond for their client. In late August 2021, Magistrate Judge Charles Reynolds agreed to let Roy out on bond pending the appeals court decision. One day later, Roy was released from Tarrant County Jail where he was greeted by his fiancée, his mother, his sister, and other members of his family.
Contact The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter
The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter represent people who have been accused of crimes in Dallas and Fort Worth. For more than 20 years, we've provided top-notch representation with a strong track record of success. Visit www.lomtl.com for more information on our firm.
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SOURCE Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter