More From Death Row ...

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.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

MORE Death Penalty
Death Watch: Madness and Forensics
Death Watch: Madness and Forensics
Two capital cases raise psychological and evidentiary issues

Jordan Smith, Oct. 4, 2013

Death Watch: Running Low on Poison
Death Watch: Running Low on Poison
The state of Texas has three executions' worth of pentobarbitol

Jordan Smith, Aug. 9, 2013

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014


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

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle