Texas Prisoner Who Faced Execution Exonerated, Released


After 18 years of incarceration and countless protestations of innocence, Anthony Graves was freed Wednesday when a prosecutor filed a motion to dismiss charges that had kept Graves on Texas’ death row for most of his adult life. Graves was convicted of assisting Robert Earl Carter in the slaying of Bobbie Davis, 45, her daughter and four grandchildren on Aug. 18, 1992. Carter was executed in 2000. Two weeks before his death, he provided a sworn statement saying that his naming of Graves as an accomplice was a lie.

Carter repeated the statement while strapped to the gurney minutes before his death: “Anthony Graves had nothing to do with it. … I lied on him in court.” Charles Sebesta, then the district attorney, did not believe Carter. The evidence against Graves was never overwhelming, depending mostly on Carter’s earlier accusation and jailhouse statements purportedly overheard by law enforcement officers. Over the years, there was increasing evidence raised to doubt the validity of the conviction. Students in a University of St. Thomas journalism class worked with The Innocence Project at the University of Houston to help free Graves.

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