9th grader jailed for days after being misidentified for on-campus crime

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A ninth grade Houston ISD student said he wants answers after he spent days behind bars for a crime he said he never committed at Bellaire High School.

About a week ago, the student was arrested and charged with a robbery of a fellow student. That student spent time in jail before the charge was dropped.

"Those three days, or four days, it felt like years," he recalled. "Each day was like a year going by because it was so long."

He doesn't want to reveal his identity. He's too upset after what happened when he was in class.

"The police came and took me out of gym class, and then they put handcuffs on me and took me into another (classroom), told me they charged me with a felony, a robbery," he recalled.

Documents he received from the school said he was accused of assault with intent to steal money from a student.

"They told me it happened Friday at 2:14 p.m., but I was never at school," he said.

Despite that, the student found himself behind bars.

"I couldn't even go to sleep because people were banging on the doors," he recalled.

From jail, he fought for his freedom.

"I was even telling a woman that I didn't commit the crime, and I was telling my lawyer that I didn't commit the crime," he recalled.

Attorney Sean McAlister said his client wouldn't let up.

"You could tell there was something extra in the way that he said it, that he felt wronged," McAlister recalled.

Suddenly, McAlister said, after three days behind bars, the district attorney's office dropped the charge. He was told the victim identified another student.

"Somehow, I don't know whether it was through video, that they had verified that perhaps the kid that they had seen on video was in fact someone else," McAlister said.

Although the charge was dismissed, McAlister said his client will need to take steps to clear his name.

"Later on in life, he's going to want to make sure that whatever records do exist - the detention, the arrest, the offense report, or anything of that nature - it needs to be cleared off of his record," McAlister said.

McAlister also said law enforcement and school officials who charged his client should be held responsible.

"There's a failure in this investigation somewhere that led to someone being wrongly accused," McAlister said.

We called and emailed HISD numerous times about this story. We even called a number listed for the school board member for Bellaire High School's district.

The only response we received from the district was an automatic reply that school was out for spring break.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office provided a statement regarding the arrest:

"As soon as the officer informed us that they believed they had the wrong person, we immediately found a judge and dismissed the case."

Follow Nick Natario on Twitter and Facebook.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.