HPD announces more property room discoveries

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KHOU-11’s Jeremy Desel reports that evidence from a number of capital murder cases has recently been discovered in HPD’s property room:

Dozens of boxes of evidence were found in the HPD property room last year during the investigation into problems at the HPD crime lab.

Investigators have been combing over each piece of evidence — 700,000 so far — and they recently found evidence linked to the capital murder cases.

The findings may have come too late for one person already executed.

Ponchai Wilkerson was sent to death row for a 1990 murder during a jewelry store robbery. The evidence was a car baby seat. It’s relation to the case isn’t clear. Wilkerson’s attorneys didn’t request the evidence during the trial.

District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said that at least in the Wilkerson case, the evidence may not have made any impact.

“It appears that it is very tangential. In fact, nonessential to any given matter in Mr. Wilkerson’s case, which is good from our standpoint,” he said.


Evidence also turned up in the 1987 case of Warren Rivers. He lured an 11-year-old boy to his home, sexually assaulted him, mutilated him with a broomstick and stabbed him to death. The evidence found in that case is clothing, a towel and a knife.

The third case of evidence involves Robert Campbell. He kidnapped Alexandra Rendon from a gas station in 1991, raped her, then shot her to death. The evidence is a cigarette butt which defense attorneys had asked for during the appeals process.

The city needs to stop dragging its feet on the next phase of the Bromwich investigation of the HPD crime lab and get it moving forward.

UPDATE (08-17-2005): Steve McVicker and Roma Khanna cover the story for the Chronicle.

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