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Inmate Anthony Graves gets new hearing on his appeal

Death row inmate Anthony Graves was in federal district court in Galveston last week for an evidentiary hearing granted last year by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Graves was sentenced to death for the 1992 murder of six people – 45-year-old Joyce Davis, her 16-year-old daughter Nicole, and her four grandchildren – in Somerville. After the murders, the Davis home was doused with gasoline and set ablaze.

Police arrested Robert Carter, father of one of the four children killed, after he showed up at his son's funeral with burns on his arms and face. Prosecutors said that Carter could not have committed the crime alone, and after they suggested his wife would be called in for questioning, Carter fingered Graves, his wife's cousin, as his accomplice. Graves has vociferously denied participation in the crime, and prior to his own execution, Carter said that he lied about Graves' involvement. According to a press release from Houston's University of St. Thomas Innocence Project – a joint venture between journalism students from UST and students from the Texas Innocence Network at the University of Houston Law Center, whose students have been investigating Graves' case for two years – Carter also told numerous people that he had lied on the witness stand when he implicated Graves in the crime.

At the Sept. 28 hearing, former Burleson Co. District Attorney Charles Sebesta testified that he had "pieced together" a memory of telling Graves' trial attorneys that Carter informed the state that he alone had killed the Somerville six, the night before Carter took the witness stand against Graves, reported the Houston Chronicle. Graves' trial attorneys Lydia Clay-Jackson and Calvin Garvie (the same court-appointed attorneys that represented Bastrop murder defendant Rodney Reed) testified that they were never given that information. At press time, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner had not made a ruling in the case.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Anthony Graves, Robert Carter, Joyce Davis, Nicole Davis, Charles Sebesta, death penalty, University of St. Thomas, University of Houston Law Center, Texas Innocence Network, Lydia Clay-Jackson, Calvin Garvie, John Froeschner

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