A Texas man who has served seven years of a life sentence is expected to be exonerated for a 2010 stabbing death in Houston after DNA evidence pointed to another person who has now confessed to the murder.
Lydell Grant, 42, was freed on bond in November after a DNA analysis eliminated him as the killer. The Innocence Project of Texas celebrated the breakthrough in Grant’s wrongful conviction, adding they are looking forward to his complete exoneration in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Fingernail evidence leads to a new suspect
New testing on DNA found on the victim’s fingernails in the murder of 28-year-old Aaron Scheerhoorn led local authorities to the elimination of Grant as a suspect. Police now believe Jermarico Carter, 41, is the killer.
Detectives learned Carter was near the night club, where Scheerhoorn was stabbed after being turned away from the establishment. Several witnesses testified they saw Grant stab him, and he was convicted in 2012. Authorities say Carter was arrested on Dec. 19 and later admitted to killing Scheerhoorn.
Police chief apologizes to Grant
Houston police chief Art Acevedo issued an apology to Grant and his family saying they have waited for justice for many years and says he hopes the new murder charge will help bring closure to the families of Grant and Scheerhoorn.
The break came after police retested the fingernail evidence using more advanced technology than was available during the initial investigation. The results led to a hit in the FBI’s DNA Index System pointing to Carter.
Witnesses are often unreliable
The Innocence Project says 70% of the more than 360 wrongful death convictions that have been overturned in the U.S. involve mistaken witness identifications. The group believes the erroneous witness accounts were aided by outdated and flawed techniques used by police that helped wrongly convict Grant.