PressTV-For 35 yrs in prison without conviction – A mentally ill African American man has spent more than three decades in the US state of Texas without conviction, a defense attorney says.
Jerry Hartfield, 59, has been jailed for over 35 years despite his original murder conviction being thrown out from being found guilty, defense attorney Jay Wooten told jurors on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
Hartfield faces life in prison if convicted of capital murder the killing of 55-year-old Eunice Lowe in September 1976 in Bay City, about 100 miles (about 161 kilometers) southwest of Houston.
Jurors received the case on Wednesday. Hartfield could be found guilty of a lesser charge of murder or could be acquitted by jurors.
“A lot of things are missing from this case,” Hartfield’s lead attorney, Wooten, said in closing arguments. “Like anything you have at your home since 1976, there are parts missing, there are parts that no longer fit.”
A jury threw away Hartfield’s original 1977 conviction after hearing an appeal in 1980. After three years, Governor Mark White commuted his sentence to life, but federal courts recently ruled the governor didn’t have a sentence to commute.
According to a study, one in every 25 death row inmates in the United States is innocent. Approximately 3,000 US prisoners are waiting to be put to death.
African Americans are also far more likely to be arrested and imprisoned by police than any other racial group, according to a recent analysis by USA TODAY.