Inmate ordered retried in '80 'waiting ever since'

Jan 4, 2013 - by - 0 Comments

GATESVILLE, Texas (AP) — Jerry Hartfield was still a young man when an uncle visited him in prison to tell him that his murder conviction had been overturned and he would get a new trial.

Not long afterward, he was moved off of death row.

"A sergeant told me to pack my stuff and I wouldn't return. I've been waiting ever since for that new trial," Hartfield, now 56, said during a recent interview at the prison near Gatesville where he's serving life for the 1976 robbery and killing of a Bay City bus station worker. He says he's innocent.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Hartfield's murder conviction in 1980 because it found a potential juror improperly was dismissed for expressing reservations about the death penalty. The state tried twice but failed to get the court to re-examine that ruling, and on March 15, 1983 — 11 days after the court's second rejection — then-Gov. Mark White commuted Hartfield's sentence to life in prison.

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