Hike sentence

Texas court overturns Beaumont’s death sentence

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction of a Beaumont man who was sentenced to death for capital murder five years ago. Now he will now get a new trial.

Joseph Kenneth Colone Jr., won his appeal based on allegedly mishandled evidence and false testimony during the 2017 Mary trial that ultimately resulted in his conviction.

Colone is accused of killing a mother and her teenage daughter.

According to previous Enterprise reports, Colone Jr. claimed he did not get a fair trial in Jefferson County, where “a powerful combination of individuals” decided he must die.

The three-page opinion issued by the court on Wednesday found that evidence used in the state’s case against Colone, specifically a “dark knit glove” and a “blue towel” from the crime scene, had been mishandled prior to DNA testing. If true, it could have violated Colone’s due process.

The court said Colone also claimed that one of the DPS analysts who testified during the trial “knowingly or unknowingly” gave a “false impression” when he suggested there was nothing wrong. “wrong” in “the way the DPS handled the glove and towel.”

According to court documents, due process is violated when the state knowingly or unknowingly uses false material testimony to secure a conviction.

The Office of Capital and Forensic Writs, which handled the post-conviction subpoena, said in a statement that it became clear the DNA evidence had been mishandled during a series of post-conviction depositions, and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office joined with Colone’s attorneys in recommending that he should be granted a new trial. Unlike an appeal, a writ allows new evidence to be presented.

The statement said the evidence allegedly containing Colone’s DNA was left in an unrefrigerated cooler for 30 days. By then, the cold packs had thawed and “an unidentified, foul-smelling liquid covered the bottom of the cooler.” Additionally, the FedEx envelope containing the evidence was “damp and soggy.”

“This case shows that no one involved in the criminal justice system – not lawyers, not judges, not jurors – can take forensic evidence for granted – not even DNA evidence,” the director said. OCFW Executive Benjamin Wolff in a statement. “It is also a reminder that the justice system is as fallible as the people involved and that even the most high-profile cases must be investigated to avoid wrongful convictions. We are pleased that the Court has remedied this miscarriage of justice.

Colone had previously been convicted of fatally shooting Mary Goodman, 41, and her 16-year-old daughter, Briana Goodman, at their Hartel Street home in July 2010. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, the retaliation would be the reason for the deaths.

“The sentencing judgment … is set aside,” said Wednesday’s opinion.

Colone was represented at trial by defense attorneys Robert Loper and Gerald Bourque. Bourque said Colone’s family was “thrilled” with the decision.

He pointed to another potential suspect who was the state’s “star witness” in the original trial. But when pressed, Bourque noted that juries, not lawyers, decide who is guilty in a case.

He confirmed that the case would return to the trial court. We don’t know if it will be in court. Judge Raquel West, who heard the first trial, and whether Bourque will be reassigned to represent Colone.

“Right now everything is on hold other than the fact that we’re starting over,” he said, adding that the case was a battle from the start.

Now this fight continues.

Bourque commended the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office Appeals Division for the admission of error in this particular event, commended the Office of Capital Writs and Forensics, and spoke about the significance of the appeals court’s decision to overturn a capital murder conviction with one death. phrasing.

“It’s practically unheard of,” Bourque said. “I would say it was one in a thousand.”

It is also an important victory for him and his team.

“I’m 72,” Bourque said. “I fought these wars for 30 years.”

This may be one of my “happiest times”, he paused.

Although it doesn’t happen very often, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office was not surprised by this verdict.

“We knew this was coming,” Assistant Criminal District Attorney Wayln Thompson said. “It was a technical issue that arose…involving a note that was made in the lab file that our trial attorneys were unaware of at the time. And, it was information to which the defense lawyers were entitled, to at least prepare their defense around it. From the defense attorney’s perspective, this would have had an impact on their preparations for trial – the way they prepared the defense.

“What that means is basically it’s going to go back to square one and we’re going to try the case again.”

Thompson is confident the DA’s office has the right suspect to prosecute and they believe they can address concerns about the evidence without affecting the admissibility of DNA results.

Thompson said Colone is in custody as the case returns to the indictment and the two legal teams move on again.

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