Miles set free in Dallas court after exoneration
February 22, 2012
by DEBBIE DENMON
DALLAS - Richard Ray Miles knows this is cause for celebration, as he hands his mother a bouquet of flowers.
An emotional moment in a Dallas County courtroom as a mother waits for the judge to clear her son's name.
"Richard, you are a free man today, but that doesn't mean you won't face difficulties -- rely on them," said Texas District Judge Andy Chatham, pointing at members of the crowd.
The judge was referring to the unique brotherhood of other men wrongly convicted of crimes, but later exonerated through DNA evidence or evidence suppressed. Miles is now a part of this club, having served nearly 15 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
He said false eyewitness testimony stole many years of his life and he singled out his mom for helping him make it through the toughest years of incarceration.
"I want to thank my mom," Miles tearfully said in court. "Every month for 15 years she came to see me."
He went to prison at 19 years old, and is now 35.
"A Mother's Love" was printed on the t-shirt Mrs. Miles wore in court and she said visiting him in her broken-down car with Miles' three other siblings was never a burden, because she always believed his innocence.
And now, she's grateful Miles made it home in one piece from prison. He was the youngest inmate there back in 1995.
"He never let us know there was fighting or that he was scared and he couldn't fight when he went down there," his mother told reporters.
Miles interrupted saying, "Mom, we on TV!"
"I'm sorry," she replied, laughing.
He's a humble man not hardened by his experience, but serious about holding the prosecutor in his murder case accountable.
A formal complaint is expected to be filed by his defense attorney Cheryl Wattley. Both accuse then prosecutor Tom D'Amore of pressuring the sole witness in the shooting case to single out Miles as a murderer.
"My life was taken because of malicious acts by a prosecutor and I can't just let that go by," Miles said.
Miles was released after Centurion Ministries, a prisoner-advocacy group that investigates potential wrongful convictions, uncovered information that showed a prosecutor withheld information that pointed to another man as the killer.
Miles was convicted in the murder of Deandre Williams and the attempted murder of Robert Ray Johnson, Jr. Both men were shot several times in May 1994 while sitting in a car near Bachman Lake. Miles was arrested 20 minutes later.
"The poem Footprint symbolizes what I went through in prison," Miles said. "When I wanted to give up, God carried me."
He said his faith helped him and now he wants to help other men by building transitional homes for former inmates who need help re-entering society.