DNA Test Suggests Texas Executed Wrong Man

Then-Gov. George Bush's staff failed to tell him Jones was asking for test
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2010 10:59 AM CST
DNA Test Suggests Texas Executed Wrong Man
This June 29, 2010 file photo shows convicted murderer Claude Jones in family snapshots taken at Texas' death row visitors' room the day before he was was executed for capital murder in late 2000.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

A DNA test has cast doubt on the guilt of a man who was executed in Texas 10 years ago—an execution that went forward after then-Gov. George W. Bush's staff failed to tell him the condemned man was asking for genetic analysis of a single strand of hair. That strand was the only physical evidence linking Claude Jones to the 2000 murder of a liquor store owner, and the new test reveals that the hair isn’t his, and probably belonged to the victim.

The briefing papers Bush’s staff gave him on Jones didn’t include his request for a DNA test, so Bush denied his reprieve, according to documents obtained by the Innocence Project, which also conducted the DNA test. “It is absolutely outrageous that no one told him that Claude Jones was asking for a DNA test,” the Project’s co-founder tells the AP. While the test doesn’t necessarily prove Jones’ innocence, it does mean the evidence against him was insufficient under Texas law to convict him. (Read more Claude Jones stories.)

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