Johnny Pinchback's Now Free, In Part, Because of Help of Another Exonerated Dallas Man

Categories: Crime
Pinchback photo - April 2011.jpg
Johnny Pinchback
This morning, Johnny Pinchback sat in the Dallas County Jail, awaiting yet another stop in court. This afternoon, he will be at a steakhouse, celebrating with his family, friends and fellow exonerees.

After 27 years behind bars for an aggravated sexual assault he did not commit, Pinchback, dressed in a white-and-gray pin-striped suit, tightly hugged his tearful mother after a hearing that officially granted him freedom following DNA testing. A receiving line formed around him; family, friends and about 10 other exonerated prisoners clasped him and offered their support. 

"There was no way that this was going to be solved, only by God," Pinchback told the crowd, emphasizing that faith and support from family and friends helped him maintain patience and persistence. "Love," he said, describing the moment to the crowd after the hearing. "I'm feeling love. I just ... I feel good." 

Pinchback said he looks forward to helping other prisoners in the same situation, as his friends have helped him. Pinchback is the 26th exoneree and the 22nd cleared by DNA evidence in Dallas County since a 2001 law was passed allowing inmates to request DNA testing. He said he used to watch the exonerations on TV from prison and think, "When is my turn?"

Natalie Roetzel, a lawyer who represented Pinchback on behalf of the Innocence Project  of Texas, told Unfair Park that his was "the perfect case for DNA testing. The only evidence against him was the victim's testimony."

"We need to reform the criminal justice system," Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins told told a crowd gathered after the hearing. "What will help us do that is legislation." Watkins called for support of a bill that would regulate evidence storage state-wide.

Charles Chatman -- who, in 2008, became the 15th Dallas County man exonerated by DNA evidence -- knew Pinchback in prison. He's become an advocate on behalf of the wrongfully imprisoned, and he estimates he called the Innocence Project of Texas hundreds of times on his behalf. He worked behind the scenes to ensure Pinchback would eventually be a free man. After this morning's hearing, Chatman, who was exonerated after 27 years behind bars for rape, handed Pinchback a box containing a wallet containing $100. 

The two became friends when Pinchback, who distributed boots to prisoners working in the fields, went out of his way to give Chatman boots that were in suitable condition and the correct size. "He would always give me the best pair," Chatman said. "Pinchback would always try to help the guys as much as he could." The two exonerees were in the same prison unit for more than 10 years.
My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Guest
Guest

Welcome Home Mr. Pinchback. VOTS (victims of the system), victims of the great Texas Roundup of 1984 & fellow human beings from all walks of life 'all' wish you nothing but the best in your endeavors. Please let us know how we may assist you in the criminal justice system reform movement. God bless.

Folks, Mr. Craig Watkins says, "We need to reform the criminal justice system", "What will help us do that is legislation." The DO article includes Watkins calling for support of a bill that would regulate evidence storage state-wide. While this bill is very important, it should also noted that bill HB 215 targets eyewitnesses & line-ups. This is historic due to the effects it will have on humans of all shapes, sizes & shades regardless of if they pass in 'full' or fail. Those wishing to learn more about these bills and where they can obtain a link to contact your State Rep. and voice support go to GFB http://gritsforbreakfast.blogs...     

Konagold77
Konagold77

I.had great.honor meeting and speaking.with.johnny.today. he is some strong individual and happy for the guy. He made me realize a lot after words. After speaking wit my co workers about meeting him most mentioned the money he received except one. He said that 27 years is a long time to be locked up. Wouldn't trade any time for millions and neither would johnny. He admitted to being guilty of a lot of things but not crimes that would take his freedom away for decades. It does make me wonder more about capital punishment. But it makes me embrace our lord and savior more. Thanks johnny for the impact you have made already and keep.moving forward!

Doug
Doug

So who was the DA and prosecuting attorney who railroaded this guy?  (I can hear it now..."I've got a 98.6% conviction rate!!")  Proves once again how incredibly unreliable "eyewitness" testimony is...especially when the DA's office games the lineup. 

David Pate
David Pate

Maybe I'm jaded, but I would have liked to know more about the case.  The word exonerated is sometimes used when the phrase "the case got tossed" is more appropriate.  The allegations of a racist criminal justice system seem unfair; there was witness testimony.  If Mr. Pinchback was innocent I wish him well.

Scott Henson
Scott Henson

Yes, you're jaded. He was identified in a lineup by a victim with no other evidence, but DNA testing on the rape kit showed someone else did it. No need for the "if." What's more, there are tens of thousands of backlogged, untested rape kits around the state, so there are more just like him out there waiting to be discovered, most without a hero like Charles Chatman championing their cause. (I'm incredibly proud of Charles, what a great guy.)

FWIW, if you've never studied the topic, for reasons having to do with the surprisingly complex relation between vision and memory, eyewitness testimony is particularly unreliable when the witness/victim didn't previously know the defendant, see: http://gritsforbreakfast.blogs...

Kuei
Kuei

I hope he learned his lesson about being black. 

sorandkairi
sorandkairi

again here you are making the same "well i think its funny jokes"... aint shit about this is funny.. this guy went to jail for years for something that he didnt have anything to do with.... and you attempt to make light of his situation... let see how long you last in jail with really criminals that hear you have raped 2 little girls... (even in prison, they dont appreciate that shit) 

Kuei
Kuei

I think you missed the point. But, that's ok. You have plenty more opportunities in life to grasp the blatantly obvious. 

sorandkairi
sorandkairi

Trust me, I understood the sarcasm... even so... jokes like that are of a bad nature and for situations such as this, as well as the previous comment that I called you out on, are not at all funny. This guy spent several decades in jail for NO reason... nothing funny or anecdotal about that at all. If you don't actually understand that, then maybe you should spend more time being more humane than human.

Has
Has

That's just stupid color has nothing to do with it. Grow up buddy!!!!!!!!!!

Rick and Alice
Rick and Alice

For you to say color has nothing to do with it, then obviously your are blind.  Black man in Texas wrongfully convicted of a crime?  Happens everyday for the simple crime of being black 

Kuei
Kuei

sorandkairi...I am a white man who lived in Texas. I know ALLL about his pain. Now, did that confuse you, too? Let me explain. You think you suffered and are trying to draw sympathy from his misfortune, just because you are black. But, you are not from Texas. You have no clue. Just like I have no clue about being black, yet I do not try to make the whole world feel sorry for me, as you do, as most blacks do. If you have suffered, it is not at my hands. But, I am intelligent enough to realize the reason for his suffering, just as you were not intelligent enough to understand the angle of my comment. So, stop trying to make the world feel sorry for you because you are black. Do that, and you will be alot more likely to get along with whites. It's 2011 in america, and ALLLLLLLLL races are suffering at the hands of the greedy white man. Wake up!

sorandkairi
sorandkairi

Of course that could've, probably, was the reason that he was more readily convicted of a crime that he didn't commit. I'm a black man from MIssissippi living in Alabama, (Montgomery now less). But again @ Kuei.... shit aint funny.... you cant just make a jovial comment over some shit like this... Shrugging your shoulders saying "sucks to be you" isn't the most respectful, to this gentlemen's situation, way to address this issue.

John Williams
John Williams

I knew Johnny when he was a young kid in Cameron,Tx.I am extremely happy for him and his family. 

Montemalone
Montemalone

Stories like this send a chill down my spine.

The wrong man imprisoned for decades, and the true criminal never brought to justice.

We do need to revamp our "justice system". It's all about numbers and closing cases.

I can't imagine feeling only love after spending all that time locked up.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I suspect that "feeling only love" is adaptive behavior... the alternative is madness.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Because, God forbid, anybody who visits here would possibly believe that the Jesus stuff actually works...

Feeling only love is NOT adaptive behavior, it is a conscious choice. If more people made it, we would be a better society.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...