Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Wrongful conviction amounts to $450,000

Nov. 10, 2006

Wrongful conviction amounts to $450,000

Man cleared by DNA after 18 years is mum on what he'll do with cash

By RENÉE C. LEE, Houston Chronicle



- State law: A person pardoned based on innocence is eligible for up to
$25,000 for each year in prison. The state caps it at $500,000.

Arthur Mumphrey, who spent 18 years in prison on a wrongful conviction, is
keeping his day job as steel foreman even though he will soon be nearly a
half-million dollars richer.

Mumphrey, released from prison Jan. 26 after new DNA test results cleared
his name, has been awarded $452,082 before taxes in restitution from the

He recently got his first lump sum of $226,041 and will get another lump sum
in the same amount in August 2007, according to the Texas Comptroller's

He will have to report the compensation to the Internal Revenue Service, and
tax officials will decide if and how much he will pay in taxes, said a
comptroller official.

Mumphrey, who did not respond to a request for an interview, has been mum
about his compensation. Not even his wife, Angela, or his attorney, Eric
Davis, know what he plans to do with his money.

''That's his business," said Angela Mumphrey, who described her husband as a
quiet ''homebody" since his release nine months ago.

A jury convicted Mumphrey of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in a
wooded area of Conroe on Feb. 28, 1986, partly based on blood tests that
could not rule him out as one of the two attackers.

A Montgomery County judge later ordered Mumphrey released from prison based
on new test results using technology not available in the 1980s. The tests
proved he was not responsible for the attack.

Gov. Rick Perry signed a pardon based on innocence for Mumphrey on March 17,
expunging the conviction from his record and making him eligible for

Busy on the job

Mumphrey received his first payment in August, but the windfall hasn't
changed his priorities.

The Conroe native still spends most of his time working. His first job after
his release was at a Houston glass company. The past seven months he has
worked at a Houston steel company, where he was promoted to foreman last
month, his wife said.

When he's not working 14 to 16 hours, six days a week, Mumphrey relaxes at
his Houston home, watching football and basketball.

"On Sundays, he plays dominoes with my dad, and he talks on the phone with
his sisters every weekend," Angela Mumphrey said.

Davis, who reopened the case in 2005, described Mumphrey as ''hardworking
and industrious."

"He's a good success story in making the transition" from prison to the real
world, Davis said.

Mumphrey gained his freedom thanks to the persistence of Davis, who spent
months tracking down the original DNA in the case.

Davis found the evidence at the Texas Department of Public Safety's Houston
crime lab, but when prosecutors inquired about the DNA, lab officials said
they did not have it.

Stunned by the reversal, Davis kept digging until he reached a lab
supervisor who found the samples stored in a refrigerator.

Prosecutors now think Mumphrey's younger brother, Charles, might be one of
the attackers in the case.

Statute of limitations is up

Just days before Arthur Mumphrey was released, Charles Mumphrey, 35,
confessed to an investigator for the Montgomery County District Attorney's
Office during a jail interview, said Assistant District Attorney Marc
Brumburger, who handles post-conviction and appeal cases.

No criminal charges will be filed against Charles Mumphrey because the
statute of limitations has expired.

But his DNA has been submitted to the state crime lab to be compared with
evidence from the case.

Brumburger said he has not received any information about the evidence since
submitting it about nine months ago.

Charles Mumphrey, like his brother, is now free. He completed his one-year
sentence for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and was released April 21,
according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice records.

He could not be reached for comment.


Source : Houston Chronicle


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