Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Kevin Byrd

First NameKevin
Last NameByrd
Year of Conviction1985
Year of Exoneration1997
State of ConvictionTexas
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
  • Third Party Guilt
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● As defense counsel explained in the opening statement, “Members of the jury, we intend to show — it’s not often a person can have someone else who can say where they were at a certain time — we intend to show through witnesses, who will be his father, his stepmother and a friend of his.” Each of those family members described seeing him asleep on the cough the morning of the crime.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

“Q. Did you assault [the victim], sexually assault her? A. No, I did not. Q. Do you know her? A. No, I do not.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1) Possible masking and degradation
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Byrd is a nonsecretor. Since no antigens were detected in stain, the analyst simply assumed both the victim and “the semen donor would also be a non-secretor.” The analyst then testified that 15-20% of the population are non-secretors. In fact, no donor could be eliminated. No determination had been made as to the victim’s secretor status. Further, the sample could have lacked antigens not because the contributors were non-secretors, but due to degradation. See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of similar cases. Hair comparison excluded the defendant.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Victim saw defendant at grocery store without police present. This not followed by a line-up or any other identification procedure to test whether the defendant was the attacker or the same person the victim saw at the grocery store (earlier photo array without D resulted in no i.d.)

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancy in description – wrong race

Quotes from testimony #2

Q. Read for the jury this particular statement on to the end, please. A. “The man that assaulted me was a white male, but he had an unusual color of skin. It was a honey brown color, but he was not black.”

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Ineffective Assistance of Appellate Counsel
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Citations to judicial opinions

Byrd v. Texas, 1986 Tex. App. LEXIS 7527 (1986)
Ex Parte Kevin James Byrd, No. 424823‐A.

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