A Houston man convicted of murder under a prior District Attorney has been declared actually innocent by the state’s highest criminal court, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday.
The decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals means 44-year-old Lydell Grant can apply for $80,000 in state compensation for each year of his wrongful imprisonment.
“The exoneration of innocent individuals is as important as the conviction of guilty ones,” said Ogg. “The highest responsibility of a prosecutor is to see that justice is done.”
Grant was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing death of Aaron Scheerhoorn outside of a Montrose bar. Six eyewitnesses to the 2010 stabbing testified against Grant at trial.
Through the joint efforts of the Houston Police Department, the Innocence Project of Texas, and the Harris County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, newly discovered evidence led to the apprehension and charging of a new suspect in the murder.
Grant is the third person from Harris County during the Ogg administration that the Court of Criminal Appeals has found to be actually innocent based in part on the District Attorney’s recommendations. The other two are brothers Otis Mallet and Steven Mallet. The case of a fourth man, James Harris, is pending before the Court of Criminal Appeals for final determination.