Inmate serving 25 years to be freed after prosecutors found HPD officer lied about conviction

Eyewitness News has been following case after case tied to Gerald Goines being overturned over misleading information.

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ByMiya Shay via KTRK logo
Friday, July 22, 2022
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Prosecutors are recommending a fifth person should have their drug conviction overturned due to the case's connection to a detective whose body of work is being scrutinized in the wake of the botched Harding Street raid.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man sentenced to 25 years behind bars for possession of a controlled substance is about to be set free, after all sides agreed his conviction was based on fabricated evidence from disgraced former Houston Police Officer Gerald Goines.

Goines was the lead officer in the botched Harding Street raid that killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas-Tuttle in January 2019.

After investigators determined Goines lied in the paperwork to obtain a no-knock warrant on the Tuttles' home, the Harris County District Attorney's Office began reviewing other Goines cases.

SEE MORE: 91 more Gerald Goines drug convictions being investigated by district attorney (from May 2020)

The latest one involves Frederick Jeffery, a homeless man who struggled with drug addiction all his adult life.

"He was homeless. He never owned a house, none. He never had no money," said Jeffery's mother Tina Baldwin, who has not seen her son for more than five years.

But she never doubted that his conviction in 2018 on possession charges were drummed up by Goines, the officer who made the arrest.

"They only went by Goines' words and his background. That's how Fred got the time he got," she said.

Baldwin recalled at the time of his arrest, Jeffery was homeless. He was walking around near a house that Goines busted. Goines then attributed a broken phone inside the home to Jeffery.

Even though all of that was questionable, Baldwin recalled it didn't really matter. After all, Goines was a respected veteran narcotics officer at the time. Jeffery had a long criminal record and admitted using drugs.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Harding Street raid and the fallout

Despite those odds, Jeffery has always maintained his innocence. Besides keeping his case alive through the court, he even wrote letters from jail.

In a letter sent to the District Clerk in 2020, Jeffery writes from prison that he needs an update on his appeals, asking, "I see on TV that 69 people have got they (sic) case [thrown] out from HPD Officer Gerald Goines. I am trying to find out what's going on in my case. Can you help me?"

Then, in March 2022, Jeffery wrote to the judge in his case: "I have been incarcerated for 5 years and 5 months. Fighting for my freedom for a crime I didn't commit."

On Thursday, the district attorney's agreed, saying Goines used faulty evidence and lied.

"Fred was homeless. He couldn't afford a piece of bubble gum," said Baldwin, who is eager to welcome her son home. "I love him."

Late Thursday afternoon, Jeffery called his mother from jail, saying someone told him he could be freed as early as Friday morning. He told her he was informed that he would have to wear an ankle monitor for a few months as paperwork on the case officially clears all the hurdles in the legal system.

SEE ALSO: Man wrongfully convicted and released after 7 years sues Gerald Goines and HPD (from July 2020)

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