A Texas man accused of a string of robberies in the area has been exonerated of all charges after prosecutors found that he had been wrongly identified by eyewitnesses, reports KPRC2 Local 2 News. Gilford Beatty of Houston, Texas, a husband and a father of two was relieved after being exonerated – but not before spending over $15,000 on his bail and attorney fees. To make things worse, Gilford lost his job and spent over six days in jail – all for a string of crimes he did not even commit.
Beatty's tryst with misfortune started when he received a call from a bonding company telling him that there were warrants out for two felony charges against him – both for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Gilford gave himself in and paid a bond for these charges – only to realize that he was quickly accused of two other robberies, followed by another one. The robberies were reported from Humble, Texas. Beatty was told that witnesses had identified him as a suspect in all the five cases, to his astonishment.
With five witnesses identifying him as the culprit, it was a matter of time before Gilford was charged and that is what happened. As it turns out, at the time of one of the robberies, Beatty was near one of the stores that was robbed and was also caught in surveillance video tapes. In fact, he had also given a copy of his driver's license there. This picture submitted to the store was later used in a photo lineup where people were asked to identify the robbers in all the four other cases. Unfortunately for Gilford, in all the cases, eyewitnesses identified Beatty as the one who robbed the stores.
It was only after a thorough investigation by detectives that they were convinced of Gilford's innocence. How did they figure it out? Investigations revealed that at the time many of these cases in which he was accused of occurred, Beatty wasn't even present at the said location. In one of the robberies, it had happened at the same time Gilford was in another place, paying for his bail in the first case! A second robbery was ruled out when it was confirmed that when that happened, Gilford was actually at his place of work. Detectives also checked cellphone records of Gilford and found that in all of the cases, Gilford Beatty was at least 10 miles away from the scene of the crime at the time of it happening. It was evident that this man was being wrongly framed.
However, it took five excruciating months for detectives to come to the conclusion that Gilford Beatty was wrongly arrested and was charged on the basis of flawed eyewitness identification. Thanks to the overwhelming evidence in favor of him, all the cases were dismissed.
The local TV station went on to investigate further. KPRC journalist Robert Arnold spoke to two of the eyewitnesses who had identified Gilford Beatty as the robber. Both of them clearly said that they had not even seen the robbers face clearly and that the decision to "choose" Gilford Beatty as the robber came about because he was the closest to how the' actual robber looked.
A relieved Gilford Beatty is simply upset over his misfortune and told the TV Station, "My family was scared; pain, suffering, everything, it just breaks you down."
All this while, the actual robber is still out on the loose. No arrests have been made so far. Do you think Gilford Beatty was the victim of a flawed legal system in the US? The same system if you recall had caused an innocent woman to spend 32 years in jail before being released recently.
[Image via Click2Houston]