Killer's lawyer: Crime advocate improperly shared convict's disciplinary file

September 17, 2013 3:35:11 AM PDT
Jon Buice is a confessed killer. He is one of 10 men who pleaded guilty to the July 4, 1991 beating and stabbing murder of Paul Broussard in a Montrose parking lot. Buice has served 22 years in prison for the crime, nearly half his 45-year sentence.

Despite numerous parole reviews in the past, Texas' parole board has been unwilling to give Buice a chance at parole. Two years ago, the Board even reversed a favorable vote in the face of public pressure. This month, the Parole Board is considering Buice's parole again.

HPD Crime Victims' Advocate Andy Kahan has always forcefully advocated against paroling Jon Buice. It's Kahan's job to help crime victim's families, and in this case, Paul Broussard's mother has always been opposed to parole.

Bill Habern, who represents Buice in front of the Parole Board, told Eyewitness News recently, "I don't see a public safety issue here anymore."

Habern told us he feels like he's fighting the Parole Board, politics and Kahan, who Habern says is pushing the limits by using prison information that is supposed to be kept secret.

In an interview for an upcoming documentary called "Where's Heaven," Kahan said he somehow learned details of Jon Buice's confidential prison discipline record two years ago. In the on-camera interview, he read to the producer, Alison Armstrong, a list of prison infractions. Kahan admitted he didn't know what they were for. Buice's attorney says they were for having an inappropriate relationship with a prison employee, hanging a clothesline in his cell after proper hours and having sunglasses in his cell without a commissary receipt.

Texas law says that information is supposed to be kept private. It's not supposed to be used to fight against parole, but Kahan somehow got it and used it to argue Jon Buice shouldn't be released from prison.

Kahan wouldn't talk to us about it, and his bosses at HPD refused to answer questions as well. Kahan did tell that documentary maker how he got it.

"A state representative managed to get us documents showing that Jon Buice had some disciplinary infractions," Kahan told producer Armstrong on camera.

He didn't tell the crew which lawmaker gave him the information. He claimed he didn't know it was confidential. The law is clear it is confidential and it was when Kahan gave the interview. Three months later, Kahan repeated the same story to the same documentary crew in another on-camera interview: "As a state representative, you have a lot more power than myself or anyone else for that. And so they had to comply with her request and that's how we discovered that he did indeed have a disciplinary record."

When asked if HPD should be breaking the rules to keep a confessed killer in prison, Buice's attorney Bill Habern, said no, adding that is certainly partially what he thinks happened in this case. Habern reported it to the Travis County DA, and that's when Andy Kahan's story apparently started to shift.

In early August, the Texas Tribune reported Kahan initially said he had, "no earthly clue" about the information and said victim's mother, Nancy Rodriguez, got it. Nancy Rodriguez told Eyewitness News that as well.

Kahan told Eyewitness News on the phone in August he got "notes" from a state representative, but denied getting any documents. Then as the Travis County DA was asking questions, documentary producer Alison Armstrong says Kahan called her saying he lied in those two interviews with her.

Armstrong told us Kahan told her, "I threw you a red herring." She says Kahan told her he was trying to counteract what he called the lies of the other side.

HPD and Andy Kahan refused all our efforts for comment.

The Travis County DA recently ended its investigation without charges against anyone, but it doesn't end the controversy.

Bill Habern told us, "I think when he (Kahan) is the authorized person to speak for a whole group of Houston citizens, we should expect the truth."

We still think you should hear from Kahan and HPD. We'll update our investigation as soon as we hear from them. In the meantime, join us on Facebook to discuss our investigation.

Find Ted on Facebook at ABC13TedOberg or on Twitter at @tedoberg


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