News

Harris County DA Exonerates Former Death Row Inmate Alfred Dewayne Brown

Kim Ogg says she accepts the findings of a special investigation about Brown’s case, who was on death row for almost 10 years. The probe concludes the prosecutor who worked on the case engaged in professional misconduct.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg (left) and Special Investigator John Raley (right) during the press conference they held in Houston on March 1, 2019, to announce the findings of an investigation Raley conducted about the case of former Texas death row inmate Alfred Dewayne Brown. (Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media)

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has officially declared Alfred Dewayne Brown, who was on death row for almost 10 years, innocent. An investigation has also concluded the prosecutor who worked on Brown’s trial engaged in professional misconduct.

On Friday, prosecutors filed an amended motion, signed by Ogg, to dismiss Brown’s case in the 351st District Court of Harris County.

In 2005, a Harris County grand jury indicted Brown for the capital murder of Houston Police Officer Charles Clark during a November 2003 botched robbery at a check-cashing establishment in Houston. Brown was convicted and sentenced to death. Elijah Joubert, who participated in the robbery, was convicted of the capital murder of Alfredia Jones, the store’s clerk.

In November of 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed Brown’s conviction based on phone records found by a Houston police officer. The phone records appeared to support Brown’s alibi that he was at the apartment of his girlfriend, Ericka Dockery, when the crime was committed and participated in a phone call made from her landline. Brown was released from prison, but was not officially exonerated of the crime. 

The DA’s office reopened an investigation last year, after suggesting the phone records didn’t prove Brown’s innocence, because the call was a three-way phone call, and it was possible Brown had been at the scene of the crime, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

“Alfred Brown bluffed his way out of prison by telling the 351st Judicial District of Texas that a phone record proved he was at his girlfriend’s apartment only minutes after the double murder of Alfredia Jones and Houston Police Officer Charles Clark,” county attorneys wrote in a motion they filed, as reported by the Chronicle.

Also in 2018, the district attorney released an email showing that Dan Rizzo, the Harris County prosecutor who worked on Brown’s case, knew about the phone records and failed to turn them over to defense lawyers. That would be a violation of a Supreme Court decision requiring the release of exculpatory material.

District Attorney Kim Ogg then appointed John Raley as special counsel to re-investigate the case. Raley is the attorney who worked to exonerate Michael Morton, who was convicted in 1987 for his wife’s death.

According to Ogg’s office, Raley and his team spent more than 1,000 man-hours on the assignment, reviewing thousands of pages of reports and transcripts, interviewing actual and potential witnesses, and meeting with Houston Police Homicide investigators.

Three-way phone call

Raley announced Friday during a press conference that even though his investigation concluded Brown did participate in a three-way phone call, the evidence shows Brown was at his girlfriend’s apartment. “The bottom line is that Assistant District Attorney Rizzo jumped to conclusions and convicted an innocent man,” Raley said.

“Now, there is no evidence sufficient for a reasonable juror to find that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” the attorney underscored and added: “Alfred Dewayne Brown is innocent.”

“The system has worked in this case,” Ogg said. “Alfred Brown was wrongfully convicted through prosecutorial misconduct.”

Rizzo has stated he didn’t know about the phone records and never hid evidence in the case. Earlier this year, the State Bar of Texas closed a probe into his conduct. Still, the Harris County DA’s office intends to file additional complaints against Rizzo based on the findings of the special investigation.

“The evidence shows that ADA Rizzo was fully aware of the Dockery landline records,” Raley said. “He understood the importance of the records and that he failed to produce them to the defense and the court.”

Two other men remain in prison in the case. Dashan Glaspie was convicted of aggravated robbery in a plea agreement and sentenced to 30 years. Elijah Joubert was convicted of capital murder and remains on death row.

You can watch the press conference with Ogg and Raley here:

Joseph Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, reacted negatively to Ogg’s announcement. He said in a press conference that Brown “remains the prime number one suspect” in the murder of officer Clark. He added he believes the Houston Police Department will bring the case to a grand jury again. You can watch Gamaldi’s press conference here:

You can read Raley’s report here:

Share

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

General Assignment Reporter

Alvaro 'Al' Ortiz is originally from Spain. He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast news and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master's degree...

More Information