18 year-old Lubbock Murder Case is Closed with a Conviction - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/2/05

18 year-old Lubbock Murder Case is Closed with a Conviction

One Lubbock attorney tells NewsChannel 11 that in his 31 years of practicing law, he has never seen a case as bizarre as this one and one that took so long to get resolved.

Attorney Tommy Turner is the third special prosecutor appointed to try Damon Richardson for murder. Turner says he chose not to take it to court though, because it would cost the taxpayers a half million dollars. Turner also believes there was a chance Richardson could have walked away a free man. "Because this witness, who is the key witness, is the only way I would have had to tie him to the murder scene. If the jury did not believe her then we had no conviction and I wanted a conviction,” said Turner.

That key witness was Anita Hanson. In 1988, prosecutors had no evidence to link Richardson to the murder scene. All they had was Hanson's testimony. The state got a capital murder conviction and a death sentence.

But soon after the conviction, Richardson's defense attorney's discovered a police officer's diary that questioned Hanson's credibility. “It started off by a police officer who had been guarding that witness, she kept a diary and it raised some issues if that witness was worthy of belief,” says Turner. It was new evidence that was never presented during the original trial.

The Criminal Court of Appeals threw out Richardson's capital murder conviction in 2002 and ordered that Richardson get a new trial. However, it never went to court until this year. “I have never seen anything this bizarre. It has had high drama, a high profile defendant, real bad set of murders; accusations on both sides. I've never seen on take quite this long to get resolved,” said Turner.

While Richardson was awaiting his capital murder trial, he was running a cocaine operation from prison. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He is now seeing if he is eligible for parole. Since Richardson is now a convicted murderer, Turner believes his chance of parole is slim.

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