HOUSTON, TX – The hardest part of serving 14 years of a 40 year sentence for a crime you didn’t commit, isn’t proving it. That wasn’t difficult for Reginald Matthews who was charged with ‘Burglary of a Home with the Intent to Commit Sexual Assault’ in 1991. The first DNA analysis couldn’t exclude him as a suspect, and the second wasn’t available until he was already serving time.
Five years after being paroled in 2004, Reginald found the evidence in that second DNA analysis that he says proves his innocence. It took 10 months from arrest to conviction, but 5 years after he presented the 2nd DNA analysis to the District Attorney’s Office, he has yet to be exonerated. Community leaders are infuriated, and they want justice.
“We need your exoneration process to be just as swift as your conviction process!” exclaimed Houston community activist, Deric Muhammad, at a press conference downtown.
The hardest part is that Reginald feels he can finally find justice, but those that mattered most aren’t around to see it.
“Being exonerated, I knew that would come, cause I knew I didn’t do it. But I really, really wish my mom was here,” says Matthews, whose mother passed away in 2001.
His mother urged him to take a plea deal that would have cost him only 5 years of his life, but he refused, knowing he was innocent.
We reached out to the Harris County District Attorney’s office to find out what the hold up was, but did not receive comment.
Reginald says, “The things I’ve lost I’ll never get back, the one thing I do want to do is clear my name because from day one, you know, I did not do this.”
Reginald can’t get the last 2 decades of his life back, but hopefully he can get back his good name.