Miscarriage of Justice in Angelina County

Desiree Ann Shaw was convicted of murdering her husband Eddie Royce Shaw, Sr. at their home on August 11, 1996

Analytical Synopsis of the Case

Desiree Ann Shaw’s story deserves a serious look at her claims of actual innocence. Desiree presents clear and convincing evidence that was either not disclosed or not presented to the jury for various reasons beyond her control. New evidence discovered post-conviction and favorable evidence that was not presented at trial demonstrates that Desiree probably did not engage in the conduct for which she was convicted. In this situation, there was no conduct engaged in by Desiree that violated criminal laws. Eddie Royce Shaw, Sr. may or may not have intentionally shot himself, and those questions may never be answered.

Desiree has researched and prepared her colorable claims of constitutional errors during investigation, trial, and appeal, and those errors resulted in information that might have proved Desiree’s innocence from being introduced at the trial.

Trial counsel John R. Heath was ineffective under relevant standards in the investigation, trial and appeal of the case. As a result a valid defense was not presented at trial or on appeal. Heath failed to hold the State of Texas [Angelina County trial officials] to their duty to prove each element of the charges against Desiree, or prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury only heard the State’s version of facts in the case. Trial counsel promised Desiree and her family and friends that he would present an aggressive defense and over 50 witnesses and experts who were prepared to testify. In a shocking unilateral decision only minutes after the state rested its case, Heath closed without presenting a case-in-chief, contrary to Desiree’s expressed consent. The whole purpose for the trial was to present experts, witnesses, and evidence to support her innocence. Many questions that readers might ask about the case are answered in the expert testimonies, affidavits and new evidence discovered after trial. To add insult to injury, Heath did not present all the claims of constitutional violations in the direct appeal brief.

The Ninth District Court of Appeals noted with interest the favorable evidence that Desiree’s hands were negative for automatic absorption and the circumstantial and circuitous nature of the investigation. However, the justices’ hands were tied, because Heath did not point them to any evidence in Desiree’s favor, contrary to her expressed consent – just like at trial.

There is a strong de facto presumption of correctness of State action when the State paints a person as a guilty criminal. The law attaches a strong presumption of finality to her conviction as well. Desiree has used substantial diligence to obtain the basic constitutional right to hear all evidence, to be heard and present evidence, particularly the new and previously undisclosed evidence that shows she is actually innocent. The United States Constitution presumes a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, but in this case there was a presumption of guilt from the beginning of the investigation by fabrication, and suppression of evidence by the police investigator from the crime lab, experts, and officials, and ultimately from the jury.

Over a decade later, the record remains uncorrected because the same individuals who violated Desiree’s constitutional rights, are the same individuals responsible to make reasonable determinations about review. An overzealous prosecutor, the son of the district judge, David Wilson,III., was concerned with a victory in his father’s court instead of the public interest in serving justice.

An experienced criminal justice expert, whose testimony could not be easily questioned was prepared to testify at trial concerning the lack of proper police investigation. John Heath did not call the expert defense witness, Gerald Piechocky to testify at trial.

Coached and perjured prosecution witnesses were not impeached or rebutted, because trial counsel omitted a case-in-chief. Hearsay witnesses were not impeached or rebutted for the same reason, and the jury only heard their unreasonable determinations of fact, and no presumption of correctness can attach to them.

The police investigator suppressed exculpatory evidence and poisoned the case, from the beginning, with bias. He coerced a mentally ill recidivist informant to write false statements against Desiree and forced him to testify at the grand jury.

The informant initially cooperated with police, because he was angry at Desiree and her family. He was a former patient and was emotionally dependent on Desiree for his case management in a million dollar Medicaid medical case that required networking with other agencies and providers to access adequate medical services. He became obsessed with Desiree and her family after Royce Shaw’s death, and actually stalked them and attacked Desiree in Walmart. Lufkin Texas police were called by Walmart security and the informant was involuntarily committed to Rusk State Mental Hospital. The informant claims he was coerced by the police investigator Charley Harris, and Texas Ranger Don Morris, and promised a deal with the Assistant prosecutor Wilson to have Harris County charges dropped and assistance with legal matters concerning visitation with his son. He explains that Harris and Morris painted a very ugly picture of Desiree as a “whore” and person that was not worth his admiration and respect. Later, after resuming mental health services and treatment and moving from Lufkin area, the informant volunteered several sworn affidavits explaining how he was coerced for his Medicaid housing and medical services. Although the informant remains hostile toward Desiree and her family, he provided recanting testimony.

Desiree’s ex-husband, Richardson, used undue influence on the case as a county commissioner and life long friend of the trial judge and associate of the trial officials. Richardson is not to be confused with Royce Shaw, the deceased. The commissioner also influenced the jury panel and prevented Desiree’s daughters from testifying in her favor by threatening them that Judge Goodwin would hold them in contempt for perjury, if they recanted their 1993 “mailbox” incident statements. The complicity of judges in the explosion of wrongful convictions in Texas is dangerous for innocent people according to experts. The trial judge in this case was state favoring in his attitude, non-verbal behavior and actions. It is amazingly easy for a judge to fix a trial by manipulating the jury selection process, deciding which witnesses testify, and what testimony they are allowed to give, determining the evidence introduced, deciding which objections are sustained or overruled, conveying to the trusting uncritical untrained jurors how the judge perceives the defendant and her lawyer. Judge Goodwin implied a presumption of guilt in his instructions and how they should be applied to the facts he allowed to be heard.

Commissioner Richardson bragged off record that he had the judge, the prosecution and Texas ranger in his pocket. Lufkin Daily News and Diboll Free Press published statements by trial counsel Heath quoting him that there was “NO EVIDENCE” that Desiree Shaw committed a criminal offense, and supported facts at trial that Heath omitted a case-in-chief only minutes after the state rested its case. It is interesting that the critical evidence discovered at trial disappeared or was destroyed immediately after trial according to the retiring court reporter.

A photo was discovered at trial showing the gun beside Royce at 09:49 A.M. The police removed Desiree from the scene before 07:00 A.M., and they examined the gun and removed the empty shell and bagged it as evidence at 08:35 A.M., while Desiree was consoling her family at the neighbor’s (Huizer’s) and writing a statement at 08:30 A.M. The defense team, prosecution, judge, and state crime scene expert examined the photo during trial and the judge suddenly called a recess. Upon return the trial counsel was confused and unable to complete a train of thought because of a hypoglycemic-like episode. The prosecution explained that perhaps the investigator “forgot” how he photographed the scene, but this explanation does NOT address the time discrepancy that the gun was picked up and the cartridge removed over an HOUR BEFORE the photo shows the gun beside Royce again. The photo was lost or destroyed immediately after trial. But a substitute photo was deliberately provided to the Ninth District Court of Appeals – which was not discovered until AFTER the appeal was denied when the Clerk provided a copy of the exhibits instead of destroying them.

On appeal, the State claimed Heath merely double labeled the photo, but still did not address the time discrepancy that demonstrated it would have been impossible for Desiree to have restage the scene where she was never allowed back into the scene after police arrived.

A couple of years later, it was discovered during a collateral Texas EMS investigation that Charley Harris RESTAGED the scene when his second functioning camera arrived for pictorial purposes. However, Harris never volunteered the information and was not forthcoming at trial about how he photographed the scene. Harris RESTAGED the scene intentionally or inadvertently for the record, but deliberately withheld the most critical piece of exculpatory evidence that shows that Desiree Ann Shaw is innocent and explains how the gun was beside Royce with a pair of white cotton briefs, just as Royce had a habit of using with all his guns. The State side steps the issue in its response to the State Writ of Habeas Corpus, and the issue has not been considered on its merit.

The piece of evidence that contradicts the state’s hypothesis or theory in the case is lost or destroyed immediately after trial. The prosecution told the jury that Royce wanted a divorce and that he came home in the early hours of August 11, 1996 and told Desiree he wanted a divorce. The prosecution told the jury Royce had an appointment with a lawyer August 12, 1996 although that false statement has been ruled out by Royce’s civil attorney and all surrounding legal community.

The prosecution told the jury that Desiree shot Royce and “wrapped” his gun in a pair of briefs to look like something other than a homicide or suicide without a factual basis for his claims and despite clear and convincing evidence rebutting his claims made as fact to the jurors.

Desiree Shaw was entitled to Due Process before the jurors or finders-of-fact could make credibility determinations on the facts alleged by the State that were based on weak circumstantial evidence and circuitous information suppressing exculpatory and mitigating evidence readily available to the prosecution. Any controverted “facts” found by the State court while Desiree was deprived of effective assistance of counsel to test the adversary process, necessarily result from an UNREASONABLE DETERMINATION of those facts, and hence are not entitled to a presumption of correctness by anyone reading this analytical synopsis, or by the court.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Desiree and Royce argued or that Royce told Desiree he was unhappy with their marriage. She did not know he was visiting with co-workers at work and had no way to know, if what they claim Royce said to them was fact or whether he intended to act on any comments he may or may no have made. Royce was known for making threats that he had no intention of following up on.

Gerald Piechocky, the criminal justice expert recommended a psychological autopsy of Eddie Royce Shaw, Sr. P.A.’s are most commonly used in cases of suspected suicide or homicide in an attempt to reconstruct the personal life and character of the deceased. Heath did not call Piechocky to testify at trial or request the post mortem investigation tool for the defense, and step by step procedure that is capable of judicial notice, to aid in the determination of Royce’s death. Mr. Piechocky moved after the trial and it took Desiree almost eight years to find him and obtain a statement from him concerning his criticism of the investigation of the case and procedures. Lack of resources have prevented Desiree from hiring investigators and experts. However her family and friends have courageously done their best to help, support and encourage her. They have contacted all three branches of government and made her situation known. Her mother passed away with a broken heart that the country’s criminal justice system is inadequate and a miscarriage of justice has occurred. Other witnesses and family and friends have died or have been lost over the years. Contrary to the Constitution and federal law Desiree was convicted in less than four months of Royce’s death without Due Process, and sentenced to thrity-two years in Texas prison without eligibility of parole for 16 years. The Angelina County District Clerk refused to file or respond to Desiree’s post-conviction discovery or petitions for several years. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals mandated the State trial court to accept her post-conviction petition for 11.07 Writ of Mandamus and resolve disputed issues of her “colorable” claims. The State presented an untimely and unreasonable response in April of 2003. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals mandate removed the statutory impediment to filing her State Writ (2002). The U.S. district court ordered the Texas Attorney General (A.G.) to show cause why the writ should not be granted. The A.G. claims Desiree could have had her claims reviewed YEARS ago, if she had not “slept” on the right to review by not filing within a year of conviction. The A.G. did not address the Texas Court of Appeals mandate or the state action that impeded her ability to access the court timely.

Desiree has maintained an active federal writ that was dismissed without prejudice to re-file to have her constitutional claims reviewed when she obtains permission to present a successive §2254 petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit. The court does not argue whether there is new evidence, evidence previously undisclosed, or evidence of constitutional claims, but says Desiree may refile WHEN she obtains permission from the Fifth Circuit procedurally to go forward. A copy of relevant court records and exhibits follows.


Procedural History and Statement of Facts (pdf, 23 pages)

Texas Prisoner Innocence Qustionnaire (pdf, 38 pages)

Defendant’s Motion for Court Reporter to Transcribe Proceedings (pdf, 4 pages)
in the 159th Judicial District Court
Angelina County, Texas
November 4, 1996

Oath for Appeal in Forma Pauperis (pdf, 1 page)
in the 159th Judicial District Court
Angelina County, Texas
December 10, 1996

Court Order (pdf, 1 page)
District Court of Angelina County, Texas
January 3, 1997

Affidavit of Reporter for Time Extention Request (pdf, 2 pages)
January 27, 1997

District Clerk’s Affidavit (pdf, 1 page)
Jimmie F. Robinson
Angelina County, Texas
February 19, 1997

Court Reporter’s letters (pdf, 2 pages)
to Attorney John Heath
and the Clerk of Court, Ninth Court of Appeals
April 26, 1997

Court of Appeals’ Order (pdf, 2 pages)
in the Court of Appeals, Ninth District of Texas at Beaumont
May 8, 1997

Court Order (pdf, 1 page)
159th Judicial District of Angelina County, Texas
June 6, 1997

Findings of Facts (pdf, 3 pages)
in the Court of Appeals, Ninth District Court of Texas at Beaumont
June 12, 1997

Motion for Leave for the Official Court Reporter to File Late Statement of Facts (pdf, 4 pages)
in the Court of Appeals, Ninth Judicial District of Texas
June 13, 1997

Court Order (pdf, 2 pages)
in the Court of Appeals, Ninth District Court of Texas at Beaumont
June 26, 1997

Motions for Extention of Time to File Appellant’s Brief (I + II) (pdf, 5 pages)
in the Court of Appeals, Ninth Judicial District of Texas
August 4 and September 24, 1997

Brief for Appellant (pdf, 13 pages)
December 1997

Brief for Appellee (pdf, 14 pages)
March 3, 1998

Opinion (pdf, 4 pages)
March 11, 1998

Petition for Discretionary Review (pdf, 6 pages)
April 7, 1998

Letter from expert Gerry Haverland (pdf, 3 pages)
July 28, 1998

Baylor Law Professor Walter Reaves, Jr. RE: Discovery (pdf, 1 page)
March 12, 2002

Senior Angelina County District Judge David Walker (pdf, 1 page)
June 22, 2002

Correspondence from paralegal advocate (pdf, 1 page)
after talking to Angelina Co. Judge Paul White RE: dissary of trial record
September 13, 2002

Order (pdf, 2 pages)
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Writ of Mandamus No. 53,448-01, requiring Angelina Co. District Clerk to file pro se petition after ignoring petitions and motions from 1998-2002. Lifting impediment caused by State action resulting in inability to timely file state writ of habeas corpus.
September 26, 2002

Letter from the District Attorney’s Office to Attorney David V. Wilson (pdf, 1 page)
February 26, 2003

Correspondence from Angelina County Assistant D.A. (pdf, 1 page)
RE: Discovery and Request for Admissions (new evidence notice)
March 5, 2003

Correspondence from Texas DPS crime lab legal counsel (pdf, 1 page)
RE: discovery
September 15, 2003

Civil Docket For Case #: 9:05-cv-00032-JKG (pdf, 7 pages)
January 31, 2005 – February 23, 2006

Texas DPS Texas Rangers, James Miller, Assistant Chief (pdf, 1 page)
November 22, 2005

State Response to §2254 Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus (original), USDC No. 9:05-cv-32, Texas Attorney General, Respondent (pdf, 10 pages)
(a) November 29, 2005 – Equitable tolling response (4 pages)
(b) June 3, 2005 – Show Cause Order Response (6 pages)

Report And Recommendation Of The United States Magistrate Judge On Petitioner’s Post-Judgment Motions (pdf, 3 pages)
September 13, 2007

Memorandum Adopting Report and Recommendation of the US Magistrate Judge (pdf, 4 pages)
denying petitioner’s motion for relief from judgment WITHOUT PREJUDICE to Shaw’s right to seek permission from the USCOA Fifth Circuit to file a successive petition
(Docket # 43-1, 3/19/2008, Case:9:07-cv-00146-RHC-JKG)

Correspondence from Office of Clerk of Ninth District Court of Apppeals (pdf, 1 page)
confirming State presented “copies” of exhibits to the honorable justices in 1998, proving the State is in possession of the original exhibits that have been requested for over 11 1/2 years.
April 25, 2008

Application for Commutation and Pardon for Innocence to the State of Texas (pdf, 18 pages)
December 2011
attached are:
Criminal History Information
Dr. Lois Gonzalez’s letter to the District Adult Probation Department
Order of Dismissal and Discharge for Probation Order and Deferment of Adjudication of Guilt
Candace Lee Richardson’s affidavit

Autopsy Report (pdf, 4 pages)
Lufkin Pathology Laboratory
May 10, 2001

2 Affidavits by Stanley J. Broskey, Ph.D. (pdf, 3 pages)
forensic chemist, toxicologist and criminalist
August 30, 2001 and February 5, 2003

Affidavit of Malcolm P. Lavergne (pdf, 30 pages)
May 13, 2003

Gerald Piechocki’s letter to Desiree Shaw (pdf, 1 page)

Affidavits in support of State’s answer to defendant’s Writ of Habeas Corpus

David V. Wilson, II (pdf, 2 pages)
Trial Prosecutor
April 3rd, 2003

Clyde M. Herrington (pdf, 3 pages)
District Attorney for Angelina County, Texas
April 15, 2003

Reba Squyres (pdf, 1 page)
District Clerk of Angelina County
April 15, 2003

Dr. James R. Bruce (pdf, 2 pages)
Medical Doctor, performed the autopsy on Eddie Royce Shaw
April 14, 2003

Don Morris (pdf, 3 pages)
Texas Ranger in 1996
March 19, 2003

Charlie Harris (pdf, 3 pages)
Lieutenant in the Diboll Police Department in 1996
March 24, 2003

Gary White (pdf, 2 pages)
Patrol Officer for the City of Diboll in 1996
March 18, 2003

Charles Edward Matthews (pdf, 3 pages)
Patrolman for the Diboll Police Department in 1996
March 17, 2003

Darlene McKneely (pdf, 2 pages)
August 22, 2005

John R. Heath, Sr. (pdf, 7 pages)
Desiree Shaw’s trial attorney
March 31, 2003

Affidavits in support of Desiree Shaw’s defense

Desiree Shaw’s voluntary statement and affidavit (pdf, 12 pages)
August 11, 1996 and April 7, 2007

Desiree Shaw’s affidavit (pdf, 7 pages)
November 29, 2011

Jerry Wayne Hilbun (pdf, 2 pages)
recants his initial statements
May 13, 1997 and August 23, 2000

Norban Gene Godwin (pdf, 3 pages)
Desiree’s step-father
September 17, 2001

Nelda Joyce Burgess Godwin (pdf, 20 pages)
Desiree’s mother
October 3, 2001 and June 23, 2005

Charles Randolph Weaver (pdf, 1 page)
Desiree’s father

Lila Faye Weaver (pdf, 1 page)
Desiree’s step-mother

Billy W. Weaver, Sr. (pdf, 1 page)

Johnny Weaver (pdf, 1 pages)
Desiree’s brother
December 13, 2005

Sharon E. Weaver (pdf, 4 pages)
Desiree’s sister-in-law
June 22, 2004

Candace Lee Richardson (pdf, 3 pages)
Desiree’s daughter
November 16, 2000

Debra L. Sumrall (pdf, 2 pages)
best friend
October13, 2000

Wayne Barrett (pdf, 1 page)
January 13, 2001

Katherine Barrett (pdf, 1 page)

Rickie L. Mosley (pdf, 1 page)
September 12, 2004

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