After Aaron Dyson was found guilty of shooting a man who killed his best friend, the then-17-year-old was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1997.
Now, 25 years later, he continues to fight for his innocence, as he says that prosecutors charged him with crimes he did not commit.
While Dyson admitted to shooting the man, who survived, he said his sentencing was enhanced by an additional charge of engaging in organized crime. Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, prosecutors allegedly presented false evidence that the shooting was gang-related and that Dyson was a member of a gang.
Dyson’s defense team said in the trial that he was never a gang member and that shooting the man was an irrational decision he made out of grief and anger.
On March 4, 2022, the district attorney’s office offered Dyson a plea deal on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. This would have reduced his sentencing to eight years of time served, even though he already served three times that.
Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dyson refused the plea agreement. The 42-year-old believes that he should have initially been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, as the man he shot did not die.
“The state had an opportunity in 1997 to apply the appropriate charge and try me on that charge, and they chose not to,” Dyson said. “They chose to use false testimony to convict me of that higher charge, and I suffered greatly from that. I did 24 years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit.”
Having rejected the plea deal, the case will go to trial.
Dyson was released from prison in May 2021 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated his charge of engaging in organized crime. The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit had asked the court to review the case after being convinced that Dyson was inappropriately charged.
The case will now go before the lower court in a bid to correct the charge.
Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dyson, who pleaded not guilty in his original trial, said that he lost many important years of his life in prison. “If anything, we should be here today for a dismissal,” he said.