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Jacob's trial was a travesty. The only evidence linking Jake to the crime was his forced confession and the statement of his brother, Tim. Jake recanted his statement soon after. Tim, his brother, would retract statement after the trial and paid a huge penalty for it, serving ten years for perjury (for recanting). How many people have been freed because a witness recanted years later and that witness did not suffer imprisonment for it? A lot. But in Jake's case, his brother paid a price and did not waiver. Unfortunately for Jake, that was too late for him. No gun was found.
The Echols Testimony
The worst thing, the absolute worst thing in the trial, was the testimony of Edward Echols, a coach at University Middle School. Everything else was recanted confessions and other dubious statements. No gun was found; no DNA; Jake did not look like the person described by the victim's brother as the killer. And then suddenly, near the end of the trial, appeared this "rebuttal" witness, Edward Echols. Mr. Echols testified that Jake called him (no date given) from jail and during the phone call confessed to killing the victim. And the reason: He was afraid the victim had a gun. This was horrible and damning testimony. And to understand just how damning it was, here's a quote from the Appellate Court when they denied Jake's Motion for a New Trial:
In its rebuttal evidence, the State presented testimony from a teacher at University High School who testified that Blackmon called him in early June 1994 on the telephone. During the conversation Blackmon "said this guy was trying to shoot him, so that's why he did what he did.... He said that's why he shot him, because this guy was trying to shoot him." By point seven, Blackmon claims that this evidence was sufficient to raise self-defense, and the court erred when it refused to instruct the jury on the issue. However, "a robber has no right of self-defense against his victim." Westley v. State, 754 S.W.2d 224, 230 (Tex.Crim.App. 1988), cert. denied, 492 U.S. 911, 109 S.Ct. 3229, 106 L.Ed.2d 577 (1989); Davis v. State, 597 S.W.2d 358, (Tex.Crim.App.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 976, 101 S.Ct. 388, 66 L.Ed.2d 238 (1980); see also TEX.PENAL CODE ANN. § 9.31(b)(4) (Vernon Supp.1996). Therefore, the court properly refused to instruct the jury on self-defense. We overrule point seven.
Wow, so Jake apparently shot the victim he was trying to rob as if in self-defense. That's pretty serious, but also pretty interesting. Right after Jake's interrogation by Det. Wilson, Jake recanted his testimony. So, now, Echols is saying that months later, out of the clear blue Jake calls him, someone Jake is not close to, and just up and confesses to a capital crime but not only that, he adds a whole new twist to things, things not mentioned by anyone before and a particular statement that would devastate any appeal Jake might make. My question is: was this perjured testimony, concocted by someone, and forced on Echols? You'll see why shortly.
This is Echols' testimony from Jake's trial: