DALLAS (CN) – A Dallas man who spent 14 years of prison for a gas station murder was declared innocent by a Texas judge, based on two police reports concealed from the defense.
Richard Miles, 36, was convicted in the 1994 murder of Deandre Shay Williams and attempted murder of Robert Ray Johnson Jr. at a Texaco gas station. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Miles has been free since October 2009 when Freedom of Information Act requests revealed two previously undisclosed police reports containing exculpatory material.
One documented an anonymous tip to police three months before Miles’ trial that claimed to know who the actual killer was. The other documented a threatening altercation the victims had in the same week as the shooting with someone who could have been investigated as a suspect.
In January 2010, an eye witness recanted his identification of Miles as the shooter, explaining that the prosecutor had coached him.
Seven months later, the trace evidence analyst signed an affidavit that undercut her trial testimony about alleged gunshot residue she collected from Miles’ right hand.
The analyst said application of a different standard would have resulted in a negative test result for gunshot residue. A consultant explained that that Miles would have had the same residue after touching a gun, not firing it.
On Wednesday, District Judge Andy Chatham formally read a ruling of “actual innocence” by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The formal declaration clears the way for Miles to seek $80,000 from the state for every year of his imprisonment under the Tim Cole Act.
Before the hearing, Miles told reporters he was glad for the declaration and that he has had trouble finding employment without it.
“The world knows that I am innocent,” he said. “I have always known that I was innocent.”
Miles said he plans to file formal complaints against the prosecutor for suppressing the evidence.
“My life was taken by malicious acts by the prosecutor,” he said. “I can’t just let that go.”