More Cantu Controversy

Unfair bias questions hit Bexar Co. District Attorney's Office in wake of publication of comments by DA investigators conducting an inquiry into possible wrongful conviction and execution of Ruben Cantu

Questions of unfair bias have hit the Bexar Co. District Attorney's Office in the wake of the publication of comments by DA investigators conducting an inquiry into the possible wrongful conviction and execution of Ruben Cantu, telling a former San Antonio police sergeant how they felt about witnesses who claim Cantu was innocent. Both the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported the contents of phone conversations between investigators for Bexar Co. DA Susan Reed and Bill Ewell, a former SA policeman who investigated the 1984 robbery murder for which Cantu was convicted and put to death. The investigators, Mike Beers and James Moore, were recorded while talking to Ewell at work at the North East Independent School District where he is police chief; calls there are routinely recorded, the papers reported.

The tapes recorded the investigators calling the witnesses who claim Cantu is innocent "bastards" and "liars," and telling Ewell – also a witness, whose conduct in the original case is part of the investigation – that the Cantu inquiry is "going to go forward with the fact that [the conviction and execution were] justified and everything was correct, and that's the way it is," reports the Houston Chronicle. The latest revelations have added more fuel to the argument that Reed's office should not be allowed to conduct such a critical investigation in which not only her office but also Reed herself, as a former district judge who played a role in reviewing Cantu's conviction, played a significant role. So far, the DA's office appears to be dismissing the latest controversy, however: "We're going to do our investigation and let the chips fall where they may," said Reed's First Assistant DA Cliff Herberg.

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