More than two decades after being convicted of murder, Clay Chabot will get another trial.

In Limbo

Susan Campbell, spokesman for the family of Galua Crosby, who was murdered in 1986, wants families of victims to be informed about developments when someone convicted of killing their loved one has been granted a post-conviction DNA test.

Campbell is concerned because Clay Chabot, convicted of Crosby’s slaying, was recently released on bail from prison after the Innocence Project of New York championed his efforts to get a DNA test. The test excluded Chabot as the source of semen found on Crosby’s body and implicated Gerald Pabst, who had testified that Chabot was the killer. Capital murder charges against Pabst were dismissed after his testimony.

Vanessa Potkin of the New York Innocence Project has said she believes Chabot is innocent of the crime and expresses hope that the case against him will be dismissed. Last week, Chabot was fitted with an ankle monitor and released on bail.

But Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Mike Ware has said he still believes Chabot is guilty. It is his intention to retry Chabot as well as Gerald Pabst, now in Dallas County jail.

Campbell believes that Chabot is guilty and the DNA test merely proves that Pabst lied when he claimed not to have been directly involved in the crime.

“While I applaud the Innocence Project for the actual innocent people they have assisted, I would encourage the public and the press to look deeper into these cases,” Campbell says in an e-mail to Unfair Park. “I believe the public perception is that if a person is being represented by the Innocence Project they must be innocent, and this just isn’t always the case.

“If you check the backgrounds of many of the people who have been exonerated, they have criminal backgrounds, most with more than one offense,” Campbell says. “If the victims and/or the victim’s families had access to the resources available to this national organization I believe these cases would be scrutinized more closely.”

Folks at the Innocence Project of New York and the Texas Innocence Project would disagree that they have vast resources to pursue these cases, but Campbell also points out that victims’ families are sometimes the last to know what is going on. Crosby’s family learned about the DNA test implicating Pabst through the media.

And Campbell wants people to know something the Innocence Project hasn’t made public: that it, not Chabot’s family, is underwriting Chabot’s living expenses now that he has been released.

“Clay Chabot and his sister will be living in a house rent free that is owned by the company posting his bail and leased to the private investigator on this case,” Campbell says. “Any bail money posted (which by the way for a $5,000,000 bond is quite low) is being paid by the Innocence Project and utilities on the house are being paid for by the Innocence Project. To my knowledge, all his legal fees are also being covered.”

Until the district attorney's office makes the final decision about dismissing or re-trying the case, Crosby’s family is in limbo. If it is retried, they will be forced to go through the anguish of the trial again. But Campbell has confidence that the Dallas County District Attorney’s office is re-investigating the case thoroughly.

“Believe me, I have learned a lot about our current district attorney’s office, and I have the utmost faith in their capabilities but I am also aware of their limitations that all government departments face, i.e., lack of funds and personnel. So if any of your readers happens to be a great private investigator who works for publicity, please send them our way.” --Glenna Whitley

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