Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Roy Criner

First NameRoy
Last NameCriner
Year of Conviction1990
Year of Exoneration2000
State of ConvictionTexas
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Witness testified that defendant was at work site with him the entire day and did not leave until well after the crime occurred.

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1) Masking
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

H blood group substances detected, fully consistent with victim, if she was a secretor, which could not be determined, and also with Criner. The analyst testified that 44% of the population are O secretors and could have been the donor. If the victim was a secretor, however, the H substances could have originated solely from her. See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of similar cases. Hairs compared excluded defendant.

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessIW
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Non-public facts allegedly provided by 3 co-workers and friends cooperating as witnesses with the police ● Those facts included that the victim’s grandmother lived in a trailer in New Caney, Texas and that the murder weapon was a screwdriver
Quotes from testimony #3

“He changed his story and said he took the girl to her grandmother’s house” and that “he took the girl to her grandmother’s house trailer, in New Caney.” The victim “has 11 puncture wounds to her neck. He said he poked her with a screwdriver.”

Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant

● No, but recanted in Frontline interview ● The one witness who testified told journalists years later that both he and his wife had made clear to the police that Criner was at work stacking logs when the crime occurred. It was “physically impossible” for Criner to have committed the crime. He was never asked about this at trial, and later recalled the police “only wrote down what we said that was bad for Roy.”

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jackson Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
Citations to judicial opinions

Criner v. State, 816 S.W.2d 137 (Ct. App. Tex. 1991)
Criner v. State, 860 S.W.2d 84 (Ct. Crim App Tex. 1992)
Criner v. State, 868 S.W.2d 29 (Ct. Crim. App. Tex. 1994)

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