Man convicted of murder of HPD officer and mother could be exonerated

A man convicted in a 15-year-old murder case of a Houston police officer and a mother of two could soon be exonerated.

Alfred Brown was released from prison in 2015 after 10 years on death row. But he was not declared innocent - a declaration his legal team says he deserves.

"They did what they felt was right even though it was wrong and I can't blame them for that," Brown said in 2015 after being released.

A special prosecutor could make an exoneration recommendation as soon as this coming week.

But the Houston Police Officers Union is telling 13 Investigates it's more nervous than ever that special prosecutor is about to make the wrong call.

It would seem odd to go out on a limb questioning a decision before you even know what it is. Maybe it's just an attempt to influence what the DA is about to do, but police union leaders are insistent the outcome of this independent investigation was decided before it started and designed to clear a man they believe killed a Houston police officer.

RELATED: DA to review case of former death row inmate who wants to be declared innocent

The case presents questions of potential grand jury irregularities, possible witness intimidation and potentially hidden phone records that could establish an alibi for Brown. Or as the Harris County attorney has said, Brown may have "bluffed" his way out of prison. Houston's former police chief has said he still believed Brown is guilty.

Either way, it is on the shoulders of special prosecutor John Raley to unravel it. A decision is expected soon and the police officers' union is already convinced Brown will be exonerated.

"I personally believe that John Raley was selected for one reason and one reason only - that was to declare Alfred Brown actually innocent," said Ray Hunt, past president of the Houston Police Officer's Union.

The union still believes Brown did it and needs to be re-tried. They question John Raley's credentials, pointing out he's never been a prosecutor. And point to federal court filings by Brown's defense team, suggesting DA Kim Ogg led Brown to believe she "hoped" to exonerate Brown more than a year before she appointed Raley. After repeatedly reaching out to DA Kim Ogg, she has not commented for this story.

Ogg's move didn't come at a pace that worked well for Brown's defense team. When she wouldn't act, Brown's team filed a federal lawsuit seeking relief.

That case is on hold until the special prosecutor's report is released.

"There's not a police officer including me, who ever wants somebody to spend one day in prison for a crime they didn't commit," Hunt said. "We've got just the opposite."

Raley has experience in innocence cases, including representing the wrongly convicted Michael Morton.

"I never would've taken this case if there were any pre-conditions as to what the findings should've been," Raley said. "D.A. Ogg made it clear, I was completely independent and to follow the facts where they lead."

The union has been concerned for months about the process and questions Raley has asked officers who are also union members.

They are prepared to be wrong.

"I'll say, 'Mr. John Raley, I apologize to you for questioning your credentials.' I think I'm right on this," Hunt said.

Alfred Brown's defense team also feels they are right on this. They say they believe Brown was wrongly convicted and entitled to compensation.

"I went there as an innocent man and came out an innocent man," Brown said.

The decision could come as soon as this week. It is a high bar to declare someone actually innocent - even someone already freed from prison. But more than 100 exonerees have been paid for their wrongful convictions.

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