Texas Prosecutors Accuse Former District Attorney of Egregious Misconduct in Innocence Case

At a recent press conference in Texas, prosecutors accused former district attorney Charles Sebesta of hiding and tampering with evidence, and of threatening witnesses in order to convict Anthony Graves in 1994. Graves was recently exonerated from death row and freed after 18 years of confinement for a crime he did not commit. Kelly Siegler, a special prosecutor hired to review Graves’s case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned his conviction, said Sebesta indicted a woman without evidence, fabricated evidence, manipulated witnesses and took advantage of victims. Graves was convicted of being one of two men responsible for a fire that killed 6 people in their home. His co-defendant, Robert Earl Carter, admitted two weeks before his execution that he had lied about Graves’s involvement. Siegler said, “Charles Sebasta handled this case in a way that could best be described as a criminal justice system’s nightmare.” Siegler also went on to say that what occurred in this case was the worst example of prosecutorial misconduct she had ever seen: “It’s a travesty, what happened in Anthony Graves’ trial.”

(B. Rogers, “Prosecutors blast former DA who handled Graves case,” Houston Chronicle, October 28, 2010). See Prosecutorial Misconduct and Innocence.