Lydell Elliot Grant is living something of a Kafkaesque nightmare. Although prosecutors and police now say he’s innocent, he’s yet to be formally exonerated in the 2010 fatal stabbing of Aaron Scheerhoorn, 28, outside a bar in Houston, Texas.
The defendant was 35 when he was sentenced to life in 2012. He’s now 43, having been out on bond $100,000 since last November. The Office of Harris County District Kim Ogg said that the Innocence Project of Texas, who represented Grant, approached them in 2018 to re-test DNA found under Scheerhoorn’s fingernails.
“The new DNA testing did, in fact, eliminate Lydell Grant as a donor,” they said in a statement published December 20, 2019. “What’s more, a CODIS match was obtained on the evidence and the match pointed to a second, new suspect, identified now as Jermarico Carter. HPD detectives learned he was an individual who had been in Houston and in the vicinity of the murder when Scheerhoorn was stabbed to death in front of a Montrose neighborhood establishment. With the help of law enforcement agencies in Georgia, HPD has been searching for the new suspect for months, ultimately locating him and taking him into custody yesterday.”
Houston police claim Carter confessed. That case is pending. An attorney of record did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
Grant has said there’s no hard feelings against the man now charged in Scheerhoorn’s death.
“I sat in jail for what you did,” he said in a January 2020 11 Alive report, when asked what he’d say to Carter. “But I’m not mad at him. I’m not mad at him at all. I forgive him.”
Months later, Grant is voicing exasperation at the legal system. A district judge recommended he be exonerated, but that final decision is in the hands of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. They’ve yet to do so.
Grant still has to communicate with his bail bondsman, he can’t get a job, and he fears he might go back to jail for the most minor offense if he runs into cops and they run his record, according to a recent profile by NBC News.
“It’s like I’m still locked up,” he said in a recent interview with NBC News. The court reportedly asked to see Carter’s confession in April.
“I’m not understanding here,” Grant said. “Where is the justice at? You have a guy in custody, and you have a guy who you thought had done this crime … and now they’re ignoring and dragging me. It’s not right. It’s a miscarriage of justice.”
[Screengrab via KPRC]
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