“Brother’s Polygraph Test Could Clear Brother in Prison”

The Associated Press reports in this article published in the Amarillo Globe-News. Excerpt:

DALLAS (AP) – This is a story about two brothers and a crime that changed their lives.

One brother is serving a 30-year sentence for aggravated robbery. The other is living with the agonizing guilt that he put his younger half brother behind bars.

Today, they both hope the truth will set them free.

For almost five years, James Byrd and his family have tried to convince authorities of his innocence – and that the man who committed the crime was his brother, Donnie Johnson.

After years of nagging from his family, Johnson, 43, confessed publicly and took a polygraph test last month about his guilt. Now the Tarrant County district attorney wants to test Byrd today.

If 38-year-old Byrd passes the lie detector test, the district attorney has agreed to recommend a pardon to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board could act immediately or wait several months.

“It’s a very unusual case because of the relationship between the person who committed the crime and the person wrongly incarcerated,” Assistant District Attorney Alan Levy said. “I think it merits a second look when normally we wouldn’t have looked at it again. We’re going to do what we need to do.”

Mr. Levy, basing a pardon recommendation on a pseudoscientific polygraph “test” is hardly doing what needs to be done.

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