A man faces another murder charge less than two years after courts and prosecutors formally exonerated him in an unrelated stabbing death. Cops in Houston, Texas, claim Lydell Grant, 46, shot and killed Edwin Arevalo, 33, after the victim crashed a Toyota Yaris into his Lexus in a minor collision.
Records show Grant is back behind bars, where he spent much of the previous decade. He is held on $1 million bail.
In the prior case, Houston cops believed Grant had stabbed Aaron Scheerhorn, 28, to death outside a bar in 2010. Following a tip in the case, cops found Grant and treated him as the suspect, according to court documents. Six of the seven witnesses who saw a photo spread identified him as the killer, officers said.
Grant was later convicted in a 2012 trial and sentenced to life in the Scheerhorn killing.
The Innocence Project of Texas later intervened, convincing Harris County prosecutors to retest DNA under Scheerhorn’s fingernails. It led to a new defendant, Jermarico Carter.
“The new DNA testing did, in fact, eliminate Lydell Grant as a donor,” prosecutors said in a statement published on 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.”
Grant’s new representation also cast doubt on those eyewitness statements. From the Innocence Project of Texas:
Subsequently, only one of the witnesses could be located—Andrew Vu, one of the bouncers at the club who had identified Grant at the trial. Vu said that the day police came to him with the photographic lineup,
“I told them I didn’t see the guy, but they said to look again, because he was in there and three other people had already picked him.” Vu said, “I picked Mr. Grant, even though I did not really feel he was the guy. However, I talked to my co-workers afterward, and they were all sure Mr. Grant was the person, so I agreed. Because my co-workers believed it was Mr. Grant, I thought I was the one making a mistake.”
After the new evidence came to light, Grant was released from prison in May 2021
Cops said that they tracked Carter to the area of the Scheerhorn stabbing. Officers determined he fled to Atlanta, Georgia, after the incident, and that he was accused of stabbing a “roommate/partner” there four months after Scheerhorn died.
Cops arrested Carter in December 2019 for a parole violation.
According to officers, he denied being involved in killing Scheerhorn, but when confronted with DNA evidence, he claimed the man attacked him first. He said he had been walking near Scheerhorn, who told him to get out of the way, then Scheerhorn struck him about the head twice, and spat on him, according to documents. He asserted Scheerhorn took out a knife and they began to fight over it. According to cops, Carter suggested that is probably how Scheerhorn was stabbed.
Carter said he, now holding the knife, did follow a fleeing Scheerhorn, police said.
“Once in the parking lot of the bar, the Defendant stated that he only punched the complainant a few times but did not stab him,” officers wrote. “He stated that he did not know what happened to the knife.”
Cops called his version of events “self-serving.”
Carter pleaded guilty on Jan. 21, 2022, to murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, records show.
Officers in the new case said Arevalo was found at 13000 Hiram Clarke Road, near the address of the minor crash, at about 11:45 p.m. on Thursday. They claim Grant fled in his Lexus after the shooting. Cops said officers arrested him on Friday without incident.
The Innocence Project released a statement following news of the arrest.
“We are saddened by the news of this tragic event and our thoughts and sympathies go out to the victim’s family,” the Innocent Project of Texas said in a statement to Law&Crime on Monday. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment on the specifics of this incident. We stand behind Mr. Grant’s previous exoneration. DNA evidence and the confession of the real perpetrator of the crime proved Mr. Grant’s actual innocence. His 2012 conviction was proven wrongful, and he spent eight years in prison as a result. The important work of supporting innocent people wrongly convicted of crimes is an essential part of our collective work towards a better and more just society, and we remain committed to that goal.”
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