Please see below for latest print and digital media coverage. 
 

July 23, 2020 | Defender Network 


July 3, 2020 | KPFT Prison Show 

June 29, 2020 | Houston Peace and Justice Center Statement of Support 

June 13, 2020 | Fox 26 Houston 

June 11, 2020 | Press Conference 

January 29, 2020 | Fox 26 Houston

January 22, 2020 | Houston Forward Times 

 

Case Overview: The Truth Will Set Darius Elam Free

Media Coverage

About Darius:
In the early 1980s, Darius Elam came to Houston from Chicago on a track scholarship to Texas Southern University and pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He was a hard-working family man with four young children and a wife, and no prior convictions. In 1983, he became a casualty of America's flawed justice system that is quick to convict and slow to exonerate when evidence proves innocence.

Here Are the Facts:
Darius agreed to give a co-worker, Clarence Richardson, a ride home from the Galleria. Richardson stop by a shoe store to buy some shoes and told Darius that he would buy him a pair too. Darius agreed to pay Richardson back. Without Darius’ knowledge, Richardson used an altered credit card and ID of Richard Bowen, who was found dead May 7, 1983, on Rice University’s campus with a fatal gunshot to his head. Clarence, who was in possession of the stolen credit and ID, was only charged with credit card fraud, while Darius was convicted of aggravated robbery. Clarence only served 3 years and Darius has remained incarcerated for 39 years.

Flawed Investigation and Paid Testimony
With no DNA, no eyewitnesses, and no confession, Harris County convicted Darius with a deeply flawed investigation, a manufactured yellow sheet of paper from Houston Police Department (HPD) and a paid testimony from a HPD informant.

  • The conviction was based on a reported yellow sheet of paper with alleged blood spatters. Ninety days after the initial investigation, HPD Officer Leonard Cooper, reportedly found this sheet of paper on the front passenger’s side floor of the victim’s car. This whole yellow sheet of paper was never logged or mentioned by three other investigators on May 9, 1983.
  • HPD informant testified that he heard Darius confess to crime in jail. This informant had 2 prior convictions, and not only received payment to testify, but also a deal to avoid a "3 strikes" life sentence conviction.

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Post-Conviction: Latest With the Case

Recanted Testimony, DNA Exclusion & HPD's Destruction of Evidence

  • The Houston Police Department (HPD) reported that it destroyed the original yellow sheet of paper in 1995, which denied Darius’ Constitutional right to have DNA testing done on the original yellow sheet of paper to determine if the reported blood spatter was the victim’s blood or any human. HPD only destroyed the original reported yellow sheet of paper while maintaining all the other original evidence: a bullet, shoes, clothing, fingernail clippings, hair, and blood samples.
  • In 2014, post- conviction DNA testing excluded Darius as a DNA contributor and determined that another person's DNA was found under the victim's fingernail.
  • The Honey Brown Hope Foundation requested HPD to conduct a post-conviction investigation. When HPD contacted the informant, he recanted his testimony and told HPD that he had fabricated his whole 1983 testimony about Darius admitting to killing and robbing anyone. On March 1, 2021, the informant also contacted the Foundation to share that he notified HPD of his false testimony.


Delayed Justice & Unresponsive Judge: Status of Case
Darius continues to maintain his innocence. On July 12, 2019, a writ hearing based on DNA exclusion was heard in Harris County 232nd District Court, with Presiding Judge Josh Hill. Judge Hill was scheduled to issue decision by December 2, 2019. As a result of the Honey Brown Hope Foundation's and HPD’s post-conviction investigation efforts leading to recanted jailhouse testimony, Darius and his attorney filed a Supplemental Application of Writ of Habeas Corpus on June 3, 2021 in the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas. The Writ seeks relief from final felony conviction based on jailhouse informant recanting his testimony in March 2021. Since 2019, Judge Hill continues to disregard the Higher Court’s order to issue an opinion.


 

Elam's Support Team

With God at the head, the Honey Brown Hope Foundation along with it's Founder Tammie Lang Campbell are not alone in advocating for Darius. 
 

Support Team

  • His dedicated family who remains by his side. 

  • Dave Atwood | Houston Peace & Justice Center & The Prison Show Host (Click to view statement released to media)

  • Sylvester Brown | Executive Director of Black Heritage Society 

  • Howard Henderson, Ph.D | Director, Center for Justice Research Professor, School of Public Affairs Texas Southern University

  • Shelly Kennedy | Community Advocate

  • Johnny Mata | Founder/Executive Director of The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice,


 

How Foundation Became Involved | Divine Intervention 

Founder Tammie Lang Campbell was visiting the prison at the request of Jim Arnold who has a program similar to Toast Masters in prison called, Skills for Life. It is designed to reduce recidivism. He requested her to give him feedback about his program after reading her editorial about the school-to-prison pipeline. In addition to visiting the prison at the request of Jim, she was also visiting as a class assignment for her American Leadership Forum (ALF) class and as the chair of Fort Bend District Attorney Brian Middleton's Criminal Justice Reform Transition Committie.

During the visit, one of the inmates pointed to Darius and said, “You see that man over there – he is innocent.”

When Campbell spoke to Darius for a brief moment, he gave an impassioned plea, “Mrs. Campbell, I would greatly appreciate anything you can do to help me prove my innocence.” Campbell told him, “Consider it done.”

Since that day last year, the Foundation has been exposing his wrongful conviction and advocating not only for his release, but also justice.”