Newly Discovered DNA Evidence Proves Death Row Juvenile Innocent

April 23, 2003


Mathews was 17 when he was arrested for the 1997 murder of Bridge City grocer Tommy Vanhoose.

Attorneys for Mathews say DNA tests have proved that he is innocent and that another inmate was the killer.

During the trial experts testified that the DNA evidence did not match Mathews or the getaway driver, Travis Hayes, who is serving a life sentence for the crime.

Mathews was largely convicted on the testimony of two eyewitnesses whose testimony has been questioned.

Smith said that Mathews fits the legal definition of mentally retarded and cannot be executed because of a decision handed down by the US Supreme Court last year.

  • Clive Stafford Smith, (from Press Conference 4/21/03)–Director, Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center.
  • James Harrison, speaking from the Washington Correctional Institute in Louisiana, as he discusses how he overheard Rondell Love’s jailhouse confession. Courtesy of Off Center Productions.
  • Billy Sothern, Lawyer for Ryan Mathews, Staff attorney with the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center (LCAC).
  • Pauline Matthews, Mother of Ryan Matthews.
  • Peter Neufeld, a lawyer and one of the founders of the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City.

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