| Then: In July of 1985, Kevin Byrd was 17 years old and employed as a carpenter working for L&B Realtors. When the police arrived to Kevin’s job site, he thought they were there to investigate the burglary that happened on the job site (somebody broke in and stole the refrigerator). Instead, they took Kevin to a police station and charged him with aggravated rape. The victim gave police a detailed description of the man who raped her, including clothing, facial features, age and height. She also described him as a white male with an unusual brown skin color, a “honey brown color.” Despite the inconsistency between her description of the assailant as white and Byrd being black, based on her identification Byrd was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Harris County, Texas.
In July 1997, after DNA tests on this evidence proved that Kevin Byrd could not have committed the rape, the district attorney, sheriff, and the judge who oversaw the trial wrote a letter to then Governor Bush asking him to pardon Byrd. Kevin Byrd was released in July of 1997 after serving 12 years wrongly convicted.
Now: After Kevin’s release, he stayed with family members. He was compensated $50,000, but after taxes and attorney fees, Kevin was compensated $8,000 for the loss of 12 years of his life. Kevin began to try and rebuild his life with this meager compensation and has struggled for the past 9 years. Kevin is extremely talented in many areas, first as a carpenter and builder. Kevin enjoys self-employment and has had a hard time maintaining a reliable work vehicle, which he feels would solve much of the employment hardship he is currently experiencing.
Hometown: Houston, Texas