Man on death row for five years found innocent 

May 26, 2001 

DECATUR, Alabama (AP) -- A north Alabama man who spent five years on prison's death row has been found innocent at retrial. 
  
Gary Wayne Drinkard, 45, of Falkville was released Friday after a Morgan County jury found him innocent of capital murder charges in the robbery-slaying of Decatur businessman Dalton Pace. 
  
Drinkard's first conviction had been overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court because prosecutors were allowed to talk about Drinkard's prior criminal history. 
  
Pace was killed at his home on Aug. 18, 1993 and robbed of about $2,000, according to testimony. 

Drinkard had been held in the Morgan County Jail since last July while awaiting retrial. He had spent five years on death row awaiting an execution date. 
  
Drinkard's lawyers during this week's retrial attacked the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. Prosecutors called several witnesses, including Drinkard's adopted daughter and his half-sister. 
  
Kelly Drinkard Harvell, who testified in 1995 that her father was at home when police said he killed Pace, changed her testimony and now says Drinkard was not at home the entire evening of the murder. Defense attorneys called a 
couple that manages a motel in Panama City, Fla., who testified that Harvell worked for them and she stole money. Harvell admitted she had grand theft and possession of a controlled substance charges pending in Florida. 
  
Drinkard's half-sister, Beverly Segars, helped police build the case against Drinkard. She testified this week about wearing a tape-recording device to get him to talk about Pace's murder. But the recorded conversation was distorted and authorities had it enhanced to make clear some of the words. 

Statements on the transcript from it were fragmented. Segars testified that Drinkard told her he didn't realize how big Pace was until he grabbed him. However, she was not asked to interpret the partial statements of the transcript. 
  
Rex Segars, the half-sister's common-law husband at the time, testified that Drinkard told him he killed Pace and took about $2,200 from the auto junk dealer. 
  
Other witnesses, Willodene Brock and Thomas Carter, testified that they were at Drinkard's home on Aug. 18, and he was there the entire time. Brock said she went there to help Harvell deliver her dog's puppies and they left around 
10 p.m. 
  
Authorities estimated the time of Pace's death to be around 8 p.m., according to testimony. 
  
Beverly Segars' son, Robert Lambert, testified that his mother had a reputation for not telling the truth and said he would not believe her under oath. 
 




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