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Keep Dallas Observer Free
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| Crime |

Patrick Waller's Free At Last, No Thanks to Bill Hill and Four Eyewitnesses

No doubt, Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast puts it best concerning yesterday's late news out of the Dallas County District Attorney's Office that 38-year-old Patrick Waller will, next Thursday, become the 19th Dallas County man freed from prison since 2001 following a DNA test. Notes Henson, "This one blows my mind!" Because, for starters, Waller could have had his DNA tested seven years ago, but then-Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill wouldn't allow it. Which means the man who confessed to the crimes for which Waller was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1993 -- aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and cocaine possession -- will never go to prison, as the statute of limitations has run out.

Then, you have the fact Waller was convicted based on the testimony of four eyewitnesses: three who ID'd Waller using photos, one who pointed to him during a live line-up. All were wrong. Notes Henson, who's now a consultant with the Innocence Project of Texas: "Unless Waller was simply a dead ringer for one of the actual perpetrators, which can certainly happen, it's hard not to think that biased interviewers somehow influenced these eyewitness IDs, and that the lack of double-blind identification procedures may have contributed to Waller's false conviction." Blows the mind. --Robert Wilonsky

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