On Friday the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University announced that Texas Monthly executive editor Pam Colloff had won the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. This is, of course, not the first major award for Pam in 2013. Just seven months ago she won a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing. But the Lyons is possibly even harder to win than an NMA.
Fran Keller, one of the last Americans in jail from a long-gone era of hysteria over “Satanic ritual abuse,” is free. The 63-year-old grandmother walked out of Travis County jail last night at 7:30 after posting bond. She had been awakened at 1 a.m. at her cell at the Gatesville Unit and told to get ready—she’d be going home after 21 years in prison. Her ex-husband Dan will be freed sometime next week.
To careful observers of Michael Morton’s long search for justice, one of the biggest revelations of Mark Alan Norwood’s capital murder trial came late in the day Wednesday, when a Williamson County employee named Jennifer Smith took the stand. For much of the day, testimony had centered on the bloody blue bandana that had been found behind the Morton home in 1986 and was finally subjected to DNA testing in 2011.
When Michael Morton’s wife, Christine, was bludgeoned to death in her bed on August 13, 1986, two items went missing from their home: her purse and his .45 pistol. The mystery of what happened to the two items was never solved. That fall, after a botched investigation by the Williamson County sheriff’s department, Michael was charged with Christine’s murder. At his trial, then-D.A. Ken Anderson told jurors that Michael had killed his wife and then covered his tracks by staging a burglary.
The 6,640th day of Anthony Graves’s incarceration—October 27, 2010—began like any other. He awoke at five o’clock in the morning to the sound of the food cart rattling down the hall of the Burleson County jail, where a guard slid his breakfast tray through a slot in his cell door. At seven o’clock, the overhead fluorescent lights came on, illuminating the windowless cell where he had lived in solitary confinement for the past four years. Graves turned on the TV, switching it to the local morning newscast.
Editors’ note: On October 27, 2010, just a month after the publication of this story, the Burleson County district attorney’s office dropped all murder charges against Anthony Graves and released him from the county jail, where he was awa