EXECUTING THE INNOCENT IN TEXAS

Categories: Essays
Written By: Billy Sinclair

The State of Texas has executed 460 people since 1982. I feel certain that one or more of those condemned inmates were innocent. For example, Claude “Butch” Jones was executed on December 7, 2000, telling family members all the way to his death that he was innocent. The Houston Chronicle, in a report written by Cindy Horswell, reported two weeks ago that State District Court Judge Paul C. Murphy ordered DNA testing on a hair fragment found on the counter of a liquor store in Point Blank, a small community 65 miles north of Houston in San Jacinto County, where Jones allegedly murdered the owner during a robbery. The New York-based Innocence Project and an Austin-based newsmagazine, The Texas Observer, filed a petition some three years ago requesting what the Chronicle called “mitochondrial DNA testing” on the hair fragment.

            The hair fragment is important. A Texas Department of Public Safety “expert” testified at Jones trial and could only state that “a cursory microscope examination” indicated that the hair fragment matched Jones’ hair. The Chronicle reported this was the only physical evidence that linked Jones to the murder of the liquor store owner. The new testing proposed by the Innocence Project was not available when Jones was tried, and the project’s co-director, Barry Scheck, said the test could now accomplish one of three things as reported by the Chronicle:

  • It could prove Claude Jones guilt if the hair fragment matches his hair.
  • It could exonerate Jones if the hair matches his co-defendant, Kerry Dixon, Jr., who was supposed to have been the getaway driver and never entered the liquor store.
  • The hair fragment doesn’t match with either Jones or Dixon meaning the State did not have sufficient evidence to prove Jones killed the store owner.

The Chronicle reported that a key witness in the case, Timothy Jordan, has since recanted his testimony that Jones confessed to him that he was the triggerman. Jordan is now claiming that Dixon, who is serving a life sentence for his part in the crime, was actually the one who told him that Jones was the triggerman.

Michael Perry is scheduled to die Thursday, July 1, in the Texas death chamber. The condemned inmate was convicted in the shooting death of a woman in Montgomery County in October 2001. He claims that a confession about the murder was beaten out of him by police while he was in a drug-stupor. “The whole case is a joke, and I’m about to be murdered because of it,” Perry recently told the Chronicle. “I did not cause the death of anyone. I know that I’m innocent. If the people helping me can see, why can’t the DA and courts see it?”

Perry immediately recanted his confession to the murder of 50-year-old Sandra Stotler in her Bentwater subdivision home near Conroe. Perry and his supporters now say that he was in jail on an unrelated traffic violation at the time the state’s medical examiner said the victim was killed—October 26, 2001. Stotler’s body was discovered in a nearby lake on October 27. In his confession, Perry told the police he killed the victim on October 24, but now claims that his co-defendant, Jason Aaron Burkett, actually killed Stotler with a shotgun as well as her son, Adam, and his friend, Jeremy Richardson, a short time later.

Bill Delmore, an appellate specialist with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, dismisses Perry’s innocence claims based on the medical examiner’s time of death theory. He said the medical examiner did not testify as to how long Stotler had been dead when her body was discovered in the lake. “He started off testifying she had been dead at least 24-36 hours,” Delmore told the Chronicle. “He dropped the ‘at least.’ It was an inadvertent slip of the tongue. They took that and ran with it, but their argument was completely rejected by the courts. There is a ton of evidence corroborating the timeline set out in Perry’s confession.”

The evidence against Perry is disturbing. He was seen driving Stotler’s car on October 24, he reportedly showed the car to a friend, telling him that he had killed somebody; and the victim did not show up for work the next day. In fact, no one ever heard from her again. Even more disturbing is the fact that Perry bonded out of jail on the traffic violation using Adam Stotler’s identity.

But Perry’s attorneys rebut this evidence by saying Burkett was responsible for the triple slaying and brought Stotler’s car to their client. The lawyers have an affidavit from a jail inmate who claims that Burkett bragged to him that he killed all three of the victims. “There’s no doubt he was making bad decisions at the time,” Jessica Mederson, one of Perry’s attorneys, told the Chronicle. “It does not mean he was guilty of murdering someone.”

The fact that the courts have heard and rejected Perry’s claims of innocence as pointed out by Delmore means nothing. The Texas appellate court system has rejected claims of innocence by scores of inmates who were later determined to be actually innocent through DNA evidence. So perhaps it is fitting, although quite disturbing, that while the Innocence Project is testing evidence to see if an innocent man was executed in the Texas death chamber, another condemned inmate claiming innocence is about to be executed in the same chamber.

23 Responses to “EXECUTING THE INNOCENT IN TEXAS”

  1. Jessy Says:

    I really think Texas has gone to far on executing inmates, I know some are guilty and deserve to be on death row, but some others seem to have some innocence in them.

  2. Ken Adams Says:

    I knew Michael Perry personally. He was like a little brother to me and I believe with all my heart he was innocent. Let’s talk about the so-called “slip of the tongue” by Dr. Shrode….It wasn’t! The forsenic evidence back up his statement and another forensic pathologist, Dr Glen Larkin confirmed that the victims did not die on the 24th.

    I guess another slip of the tongue would have been by two prosecution witnesses that testified when the police showed up at their houses, the told the witnesses they were investigating a triple homicide and were looking for Michael Perry and Jason Burkett. The problem is at that point of the investigation, the police should not have known that Jeremy and Adam were dead. They said they learned of the murders when Michael confessed.

    To this day, the Montgomery County DA’s office is STILL protecting Kristin Willis from the media. They don’t want their little house of cards to come tumbling down on them. They are in for a very rude surprise.

    I has to stand by and watch Michael’s execution and I will never forget how unfair this was. The day Michael died, I made I promise to him that I would never stop trying to prove his innocence. The truth WILL come out some day. I guarantee it!

  3. Curious Says:

    Unbelievable that kristin Willis was not also charged. It was her truck involved and there is more regarding her and this crime that needs to be pursued. I don’t have all the information but I believe Jason was the trigger man x3 Michael with all his obvious mental issues was his fall boy and Kristin was his accomplice. Her dad was in law enforcement so she gets away with it??

  4. Erin Says:

    MICHAEL PERRY I THINK WAS INNOCENT. HE HAD NO HISTORY OF VIOLENT BEHAVIOR JASON BURKETT DID..HE PUT A GUN TO SOMEONES HEAD..ALSO IF MICHAEL. PERRY WAS GUILTY THEN WHERE DID THEY FIND THE CAMERO AND WHY WAS HE IN THE TEUCK AND JASON BURKETT WAS DRIVIN AND MICHAEL. PERRY IN THE BACKSEAT?! ALSO…THE ONLY EVIDENCE FROM MICHAEL WAS A USED CIGARETTE..ITS NOT HARD TO GET A USED CIGARETTE BECAUSE MICHAEL. LIVED WITH JASON AND JASON’S EX GFS FATHER WAS A COP SO HE HAD THE POTENTIAL TO FRAME MICHAEL PERRY…THIS CASE WAS SAD NOT ONLY FOR THE VICTIMS FAMILY THEY LOST BEAUTIFUL BABIES CAUSE THAT’S WHAT JEREMY AND ADAM WERE BUT ALSO A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN SANDRA …BUT ALSO MICHAEL PERRY HE WAS INNOCENT..COURT PAPERWORK SHOWS CHECK HIS RECORDS IT WILL SHOW HE WAS IN FACT IN JAIL THE DAY THE M.E. SAID THE CRIME WAS COMMITTED…THIS CASE IS JUST LIKE TODD WILLINGHAMS CASE TEXAS IS EXECUTING TOO MANY INNOCENT. PEOPLE

  5. Durch Chester Says:

    Both Michael and Jason were/are guilty as sin. Michaael should not have been murdered by the state bit in prison for life with Jason.

  6. Nick Luciano Says:

    Here is a shocker, their is no doubt that both knew of and in fact had there hands into all three murders, and just like rat’s they turn on each other when they can. They both should be in the ground as if any one could have prevented three people from dieing it would have been one of the two. The girl, you bet you arse that daddy kept her out of it. The system does not care about the truth, it cares about winning and being right. There are to many people who need to be locked up for life and are not, and to many whom are and do not deserve it. These two are not in that group and the girl that daddy is protecting should be included. This may bother some people, I say get over it. three people were murdered because of a damn car. A CAR!

  7. Tip Says:

    Hopefully one day the DNA will be tested and brought to light on a shirt found in this Kristen ladies vehicle. I may be wrong but I don’t think it was brought forward. I’m not saying he did or didn’t do it. Just sounds like he got an unfair trial.

  8. Remember Michael Says:

    Read the facts from the case. Michael perry was innocent. Juries are corrupt. Police departments are corrupt. There’s no way to make it stop. Innocent people are always being wrongly convicted…thank God for organizations like The Innocence Project. But they can’t help everyone.

  9. Angel Says:

    I feel that only God should takes lives. I watched “The Abyss” show and found this case very interesting. There appeared to be a lot of holes in this case; I agree that it is hard to say who actually commited these crimes. Would not have hurt anyone to leave both men in jail for life without parole…

    Angel

  10. mark Says:

    Her was caught driving the murdered woman’s car using her murdered son ID, bragging he killed someone for the car and leads them to the bodies of course hes innocent. Burn in hell Perry.

  11. Lloyd Says:

    ive been on micheals webstie reading through it all, i mean you look at the evidence that he puts forward, and you wonder how he can be murdered with all those thing s not benig looked at by a ‘fair court’ but then i read some other things and other evidence like the dna on the cigerette under adam, and how he was able to use adams id when he got arrested for traffic offences. i mean how did he get that?.. however , again i really dont no how the courts can just not look at all the evidence he put forward, its crazy

  12. SailorGary Says:

    After watching the movie and doing hours off online search for the real “Facts of the Case” I believe they were both involved, in fact jason’s girlfriend was given immunity for her testimony against the boys. She apparently was at the 2nd and 3rd murders, and her daddy is a Deputy Sheriff. But overall my biggest question is why didnt hey both get the death penalty, Perry first admitted to killing the woman and then said Jason killed the other two boys. I just think they should either bothj be executed or both have life in prison……I find it Ironic that Jason (the one that supposedly killed 2 people) got life and the boy that killed 1 got the death penalty……something definitely stinks about this whole case, tho I do believe they are both guilty. Little girl gets off cause daddy is a cop…..stinks

  13. Lol Says:

    Wow to all the blind people saying Michael was innocent saying he was in jail at the time of the crimes. He was arrested in the car now this isn’t to say Jason burket didn’t steal the car and give it to him, but it proves she was dead and her car was stolen before he went to jail. Open your fucking eyes the guys dead he’s in the dirt were he should be for blasting those innocent people. I hope the families goto his grave and drop a steamy log on it every afternoon

  14. A freind of ADAM Says:

    Adam was a close friend of mine and to this day I believe that Perry got what he deserved and Burkett should rot in the jail cell that he occupies in Huntsville or what ever jail he is in and for the girl he got pregnant while still in jail shame on you for sleeping with the devil.

  15. Prickly Elevator Music Says:

    She didn’t sleep with the devil, she procreated with him. His semen was snuck out the prison for that purpose. So selfish of both of them to bring children in the world because it’s what THEY want & the children will grow up with a father in prison & stigma attached to with & a struggling single mother.

  16. wow Says:

    I just got done watching the abyss you can see BIG loop holes in this Murder case, I read something that said it was against the rules to sentence one to Death and one to life WITH parole if they were involved in it together.

  17. Kitcat79 Says:

    I knew Michael and Jason, they did it. And you can’t blame their lives or their childhoods bc some if us have had the same and we don’t go around killing people. I also know kristen and I do not believe she killed anyone. Maybe she was there and maybe she was scared for her own life after it happened think about that! And the jury convicted these boys not the legal system. The jury is made of regular people like all of you and they convicted on evidence that was presented. Those boys did it. Both of them and prison for life or death they both pay and need to pay for the crimes they committed.

  18. Drea Says:

    Perry deserved to die… he’s guilty and so was his accomplices.
    Kristen Willis was the ONLY injustice in this case.
    She should have served time but from what I can see is she was given preferential treatment. The prosecutor didn’t need her testimony to convict. Those idiots left enough evidence all by themselves.
    Shame on you people claiming these evil murderous nut jobs are innocent! I wish the rest of America would follow Texas’s death penalty standards. Maybe we wouldn’t have murderers and pedophiles running loose.

  19. Niko Says:

    Ken Adams is deluded as he continues trying to prove Perry innocent. I’m confident that Perry is rotting where he needs to be. Considering he met Perry after he was imprisoned he has only the word of a convicted murderer, proven liar and long time criminal to go on. Perry without a doubt deserved what he got – his parents seem to have done everything they could to help him and his behaviour, yet this reasonably intelligent man still CHOSE to commit murder. Rarely is a person simply ‘bad’ but, if anyone would have met the criteria it’s Perry. He’s lucky he lived as long as he did. God bless the stotlers, and may the extremely naive KD Adams stop his ‘innocent’ crud. Can’t you see he was guilty as charged and your lies are revictimising the family. Shame on you.

  20. Amber Says:

    There are so many holes in this case it is unbelievable. Their was no physical evidence at all that Michael Perry was there. I believe he probably was, but I do not believe he shot Ms. Stotler. I think he was under the influence and was a messed up kid with alot of problems. Jason Burketts DNA was found at both crime scenes and on the shot gun shells. Michael didn’t load those guns. Who’s to say he wasn’t Jasons fall guy? Who’s to say that Jason didn’t give him the car with Adams ID? That doesn’t mean he killed anyone. Either way it is sad, he was killed over hearsay and circumstantial evidence. Jason had physical evidence everywhere and was charged for all 3 murders and is still alive using our tax dollars, getting 3 meals and place to live for free. As far as the girlfriend, guilty!

  21. RedSonja Says:

    I first became aware of this case after watching Into The Abyss by Werner Herzog. What I haven’t read from these comments yet is the fact that in the film, during Michael Perry’s interview, is that his eyes are dead. He looks and acts like a complete psychopath/sociopath! The way he carefully watches people and then tailor makes his answers to the questions, WITHOUT remorse mind you, is completely disturbing. I read through his comments on the website devoted to his innocence and through other court documents and evidence after watching the film and he is GUILTY! Anyone else who says differently clearly hasn’t done their research and their saying so disrespects the victims and their families. I have a twin brother who is the victim of a violent crime and I sympathize and empathize GREATLY with the Stottler and Richardson families. I hope that you know that there are people out there like you and and that you and your loved ones are being prayed for.

  22. Jared Says:

    Ive been contemplating a few things about this case since i first saw the documentary. I believe we create the conditions for successes or failure and we choose the people we decide to hang around. No matter if Perry was the trigger-man or not He and Burkette deserve(d) to die. All three Victims were dead by the time Perry got caught on the traffic violation. There is no refuting that. If Perry was truly innocent and came forward when he received the ID then he would have been viewed in a different light. He choose to lie about his identity. No matter what the fine print says, He was part of 3 murders (before or after the fact but he did know they had taken place) and choose not to do anything about it when it could have helped him, then when they called his bluff, he wanted new cards. Well he had a chance at those new cards but made the bet with a poor hand. Helping hide something heinous like that is grounds for execution in my book. I think not knowing EXACTLY how it happened is what kept me wondering for so long. Sorry you never understood or owned up to your part in it all Micheal Perry, I do hope your soul finds salvation. I realize that my opinion is only good enough for me, so for anyone who wants to keep the debate alive arguing over the semantics, I understand, but the big picture is clear enough for me. To sum it up, i have learned not to lie and to come forward immediately if I know about murder, because it could possibly be viewed as helping if I don’t.

  23. rapid fire Says:

    I wish perry and burkett lived in sc and tried some dumb shit like they did in Texas with my family bc they both never would have made it to the court room it angers me to no end to see some of the retarded people on this site who try to claim innocence for either one of those scum bags and burkett and slut of a twisted wife the justice system should have made her have an abortion in my opinion the world is filled with enough trash as of now we dnt need to litter the world with anymore mental midget degenerates

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