Former death row inmate Michael Toney was freed from prison in Texas on September 2 after the state’s Attorney General asked that his death sentence and criminal charges be dismissed. Toney was sentenced to death for a fatal bombing in 1985 that occurred at a trailer park in Lake Worth. He has always maintained his innocence, and there was no physical evidence leading to his conviction. His conviction and death sentence were overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals nine months ago after it was revealed that the state had withheld critical evidence that might have led the jury to a different conclusion at his trial in 1999. The attorney general took over the case after the Tarrant County district attorney’s office recused itself in January because of the withheld evidence.

The state has reserved the right to continue its investigation and to retry Toney if warranted. The lead prosecutor in the 1999 trial, Mike Parrish, left the district attorney’s office last year. In an interview in December 2008, Toney said of the prosecution, “They had blinders on. Once they thought they could convict someone, innocence didn’t matter.”

(A. Branch, “Defendant freed, nine months after conviction and death sentence were overturned,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sept. 3, 2009). See Innocence. Because of the state’s active investigation and possibility of a new trial, Michael Toney’s case has not yet been added to the list of those exonerated from death row.