Phone records clear man accused of killing Houston police officer, but misconduct can't be ignored

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After months of work, tens of thousands in tax dollars and a 179-page report, it turns out Houston traffic and old phone records sealed the decision declaring Alfred Dwayne Brown actually innocent.

Even in 2003. morning rush hour traffic on Houston's South Loop was tough to manage. The double murder at a check cashing store was committed as rush hour was ending.

In announcing his decision in the case, Special Prosecutor John Raley said, "The evidence shows that (Alfred Brown) was not present at the crime scene and therefore is actually innocent of the charges against him."

Raley's conclusion relies heavily on phone records that show a three-way call was made the morning of the crime between two houses. Witnesses say Brown's voice was heard on the call.

According to the special prosecutor's report, five consistent witness statements over the years put two of the suspects at one house without Brown. Raley concluded Brown was at the other house.

There was no way, the report says, to leave the scene of the crime in the single get-away car at 9:46 and drop suspects at two locations before the call was made at 10:07.

According to Raley, "It (the drive) cannot be done if these three witnesses are testifying truthfully."

In his report, Raley goes farther than just Brown's innocence. Raley now insists the original prosecutor, former Assistant District Attorney Dan Rizzo, may be guilty of misconduct for hiding the phone records now central to Brown's innocence.

While Rizzo has always denied wrongdoing, the special prosecutor now says he has proof the phone records were turned over by police to prosecutors, but never from prosecutors to the defense.

Raley told reporters Friday morning, "We know from three witnesses, including a U.S. Deputy Marshal, that at one time it was in the official file and later it was missing."
Rizzo has already won one complaint to the State Bar surrounding the phone records. Last year, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg filed a complaint alleging misconduct against Rizzo, claiming he hid evidence including the phone records. The State Bar sided with Rizzo last month.

Both Rizzo and the Houston Police Officers' Union dispute the phone record theory and Raley's involvement.

Friday, Ogg said a new complaint could be filed. Special Prosecutor Raley says criminal charges could be filed, saying the case against Rizzo is stronger than the case against Ken Anderson, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court surrounding the Michael Morton case. Raley was Morton's defense lawyer.

Chris Tritico, Rizzo's lawyer, denies Rizzo did anything wrong and disputes the entire three-way call theory. Tritico called today's report an "artistic interpretation... (the phone) record does not exonerate the defendant, rather it further incriminates him. Ignoring a fact does not make it go away."

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