Both Tarrant County police and prosecutors agree that Walter Roy did not commit the crime he was convicted of 26 years ago. He has spent more than half his life behind bars.
Four months ago, Roy was released from prison on a bond, but his freedom is not assured just yet.
According to a Yahoo News press release, Roy went to Echo Lake Park in Fort Worth in 1995, along with Benny Lemmons and Edric Davis, to buy marijuana. Two cars approached the area, and “Lemmons allegedly opened fire,” believing the individuals in the vehicles were about to rob them.
During the incident, no one was killed, and the three men left the scene. The only person arrested was Roy, even though “no physical evidence was found at the scene linking Roy to the crime.” Roy was sentenced to life for two counts of attempted murder and two counts of engaging in organized crime.
The Yahoo News press release states that six different witnesses are now saying that “Lemmons was the shooter, not Roy, and one witness even alleged that Roy had tried to take the gun away from the shooter, providing further proof that he had no intent to commit a crime that night.”
Tarrant County DA Sharen Wilson, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, and the judge overseeing Roy’s case all “requested Roy’s sentence be commuted to time served” in May 2020. The Board of Pardons and Paroles “recommended clemency” in August of 2020, but with no further information, Governor Greg Abbott denied the request.
WFAA News reported that “Tarrant County prosecutors have argued in court filings that his due process rights were violated by false testimony presented during his trial.”
It’s been a long and arduous battle to prove Roy’s innocence, but he has a team behind him that will keep working on his behalf. He is represented by the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter. The firm was able to secure a bond so he could leave Tarrant County Jail, and four months ago, he was released.
After his release on bond, he married his fiancé Surnedra Drisdle, got a new dog he named King, started a car detailing business, and worked for a delivery company over the holidays. “It’s a blessing… everything I asked the Lord for, he provided,” Roy expressed.
Now, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals must make a ruling before his freedom can truly begin. The Court has already denied Roy’s appeal once before.