*UPDATE* Clinton Young’s Evidentiary Hearing has now been set for some time in September, 2020.
The 385th District Court in Midland. TX, has granted Clinton Young an Evidentiary Hearing. The order, dated April. 24, designated the ‘following issue of fact to be resolved.’
Whether David Page provided false testimony at Applicant’s trial within the meaning of ex parte Chabot, 300 S.W.3d 768 (Tex. Crim. App. 2009).
Attorneys for Young—sentenced to death for the murders of Douglas Doyle and Samuel Petrey in November of 2001—submitted his application for Writ-of-Habeas-Corpus to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which ultimately lead to his stay of execution in October of last year.
The decision by the CCA to remand Young’s case back to the trial court, in relation to the state violating his right to due process by unknowingly introducing false or misleading testimony against him at trial, has lead to the trial court’s latest order.
Within the court’s order, a time for the hearing will be agreed upon by both opposing parties. Under section 9(b) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure—Article 11.071. Procedure in death penalty case, the hearing shall take place no later than 30 days after the order given by the trial court. An extension may be granted—for no more than 30 days—by the court, but only for good cause.
News that Young’s Evidentiary Hearing will take place by the end of June this year, at the latest, will be welcome news to Young. While Young has always maintained his innocence, the commuting of his death-sentence is perhaps the first step towards his claims of actual innocence.
Testimony given by David Page at Young’s trial in 2003 claimed that it was indeed Young himself that kidnapped and carjacked Samuel Petrey. However, during an interview conducted on Oct.4, 2017 Page admitted to his direct involvement in the kidnapping of Petrey while being interviewed by Midland DA Laura Nodolf—unbeknown to both Young’s attorneys and Page’s own attorney H. W. “Woody” Leevrett Jr.
Page’s recantation of events preceding Petrey’s murder are of significance relating to the aggravating factor needed under Texas law to evoke the death-penalty. In Young’s case, that aggravating factor—in relation to Petrey—was his kidnapping.
What the Evidentiary Hearing does offer though, is further recourse for Young if it finds that ‘[a]dditional factual issues [need] to be resolved.’
In standing with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure—specifically, Article 11.071 section 9(a), the presiding court may ask for ‘affidavits, depositions, interrogatories, and evidentiary hearings and may use personal recollection,’ to determine whether the defendants appeal offers relief as to his confinement.
As to who might be requested to provide evidence, the list is long. Christopher Palenik—expert for the defence— provided a Scientific Report relating to gun-shot-residue present on gloves found at the scene of Petrey’s murder. Reasons for Palenik’s report being relevant relate to Page’s changing testimony regarding the gloves. At trial Page asserted that the gloves found at the scene of Petrey’s death were those used while undertaking work with his father. Recent interviews show that Page lied during testimony given at trial. Page confirmed that in his Oct. 4th interview with DA Nodolf.
Further interviews by Jessica Villerius—during the filming of her documentary, ‘Deal With Death’—documented interviews with former prisoners who shared contact with Page, and offered that Page himself admitted to the killing of Petrey. Indeed, Villerius’s interview with Page himself, could be deemed relevant.
What will most likely be prevalent however, is Page’s interview held On Oct. 4th, 2017, some 3 weeks before Young was due to be executed. During the hearing, expect Page’s interview to be heard in its entirety, and with that, expect a case that has been shrouded in secrecy, to become greater in its transparency.
As is often the case in matters of criminal-law, one door opening can duly lead to further avenues for recourse. Young’s road is likely to be a long one. However, his road is at least still open.
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Links to legal filings in Young’s case may be found below.