Please see below for latest print and digital media coverage. 
 

July 23, 2020 | Defender Network 


July 3, 2020 | KPFT Prison Show 

June 29, 2020 | Houston Peace and Justice Center Statement of Support 

June 13, 2020 | Fox 26 Houston 

June 11, 2020 | Press Conference 

January 29, 2020 | Fox 26 Houston

January 22, 2020 | Houston Forward Times 

 

Case Overview: The Truth Will Set Darius Elam Free

Media Coverage

About Darius:
In the early 1980s, Darius Elam came to Houston from Chicago on a track scholarship to Texas Southern University and pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He was a hard-working family man with four young children and a wife, and no prior convictions. In 1983, he became a casualty of America's flawed justice system that is quick to convict and slow to exonerate when evidence proves innocence.

Background:
Darius agreed to give a co-worker, Clarence Richardson, a ride home from the Galleria. Richardson stop by a shoe store to buy some shoes and told Darius that he would buy him a pair too. Darius agreed to pay Richardson back. Without Darius’ knowledge, Richardson used an altered credit card and ID of Richard Bowen, who was found dead May 7, 1983, on Rice University’s campus with a fatal gunshot to his head. Clarence, who was in possession of the stolen credit and ID, was only charged with credit card fraud, while Darius was convicted of aggravated robbery. Clarence only served 3 years and Darius has remained incarcerated for 39 years.

Flawed Investigation and Paid Testimony
With no DNA, no eyewitnesses, and no confession, Harris County convicted Darius with a deeply flawed investigation, a manufactured yellow sheet of paper from Houston Police Department (HPD) and a paid testimony from a HPD informant.

  • The conviction was based on a reported yellow sheet of paper with alleged blood spatters. Ninety days after the initial investigation, HPD Officer Leonard Cooper, reportedly found this sheet of paper on the front passenger’s side floor of the victim’s car. This whole yellow sheet of paper was never logged or mentioned by three other investigators on May 9, 1983.
  • HPD informant testified that he heard Darius confess to crime in jail. This informant had 2 prior convictions, and not only received payment to testify, but also a deal to avoid a "3 strikes" life sentence conviction.

Use Your Voice!

Post-Conviction: Latest With the Case

Recanted Testimony, DNA Exclusion & Destruction of Evidence

In 2014, Darius as a DNA contributor and determined that another person's DNA was found under the victim's fingernail.

In 2021, the Honey Brown Hope Foundation requested HPD to conduct a post-conviction investigation. 

  • When HPD contacted the jailhouse informant, he recanted his testimony and told HPD that he fabricated his whole 1983 testimony about Darius admitting to killing and robbing anyone. On March 1, 2021, the informant also contacted the Foundation to share that he notified HPD of his false testimony.​​​​​​
  • On January 12, 2022, HPD confirmed the Harris County District Clerk’s Office only destroyed the reported yellow sheet of paper with the blood spatter on March 13, 1995, but maintained all the other items documented at the crime scene in the victim’s car.

 

Status of Case

After 40 years of delayed justice, Darius continues to maintain his innocence.

  • Two-year Delay on Writ Ruling | On July 12, 2019, a writ hearing based on DNA exclusion was heard in Harris County 232nd District Court, with Presiding Judge Josh Hill. Judge Hill was scheduled to issue recommendation to the Court of Criminal Appeals by December 2, 2019, but he delayed his decision for two years.
  • Recanted Jailhouse Informant Testimony | During the two-year delay from Judge Hill, the jailhouse informant recanted his testimony as a result of the Honey Brown Hope Foundation's and HPD’s post-conviction investigation efforts. Darius and his attorney filed a Supplemental Application of Writ of Habeas Corpus on June 3, 2021 in the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas. The Writ seeks relief from final felony conviction based on jailhouse informant recanting his testimony in March 2021.
  • Judge Recommends Denial of Writ | After a 2-year delay, on January 10, 2022, Judge Josh Hill, 232nd Judicial District Court of Harris County, finally issued his recommendation to the Court of Criminal Appeals. He recommended that Darius Elam’s application for Writ of Habeas Corpus be denied. His recommendation didn't address Supplemental Writ regarding recanted informant's testimony.
  • Objection to Writ Denial | On January 12, 2022, Elam and his attorney, Gary Udashen, filed a motion to object to Judge Josh Hill’s recommendation to The Court of Criminal Appeals. The motion filed requests the higher court (Court of Criminal Appeals) to stay the proceedings and remand/return the case to 232nd Judicial District Court of Harris County, so that he may rule on the supplemental writ regarding jailhouse informant's recanted testimony.

 

Elam's Support Team

With God at the head, the Honey Brown Hope Foundation along with it's Founder Tammie Lang Campbell are not alone in advocating for Darius. 
 

Support Team

  • His dedicated family who remains by his side. 

  • Dave Atwood | Houston Peace & Justice Center & The Prison Show Host (Click to view statement released to media)

  • Sylvester Brown | Executive Director of Black Heritage Society 

  • Howard Henderson, Ph.D | Director, Center for Justice Research Professor, School of Public Affairs Texas Southern University

  • Shelly Kennedy | Community Advocate

  • Johnny Mata | Founder/Executive Director of The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice,


 

How Foundation Became Involved | Divine Intervention 

Founder Tammie Lang Campbell was visiting the prison at the request of Jim Arnold who has a program similar to Toast Masters in prison called, Skills for Life. It is designed to reduce recidivism. He requested her to give him feedback about his program after reading her editorial about the school-to-prison pipeline. In addition to visiting the prison at the request of Jim, she was also visiting as a class assignment for her American Leadership Forum (ALF) class and as the chair of Fort Bend District Attorney Brian Middleton's Criminal Justice Reform Transition Committie.

During the visit, one of the inmates pointed to Darius and said, “You see that man over there – he is innocent.”

When Campbell spoke to Darius for a brief moment, he gave an impassioned plea, “Mrs. Campbell, I would greatly appreciate anything you can do to help me prove my innocence.” Campbell told him, “Consider it done.”

Since that day last year, the Foundation has been exposing his wrongful conviction and advocating not only for his release, but also justice.”