Videotape Names Another Former Janitor As Teen-Ager’s Assailant
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) _ A man linked to a teen-age girl’s abduction for which former janitor Clarence Brandley was convicted named another former janitor as the killer in videotapes played in court Tuesday.
Gary Acreman recanted those statements in live testimony.
Acreman said in the tapes that James Dexter Robinson dragged Cheryl Fergeson into a Conroe High School restroom in August 1980. The girl was raped and strangled.
Acreman implicated Robinson on tapes made in March by Brandley’s lawyers, who are trying to get him a new trial. Brandley, a black man, was convicted by an all-white jury of killing the white 16-year-old.
Acreman, 27, later took the stand and recanted his testimony.
″Mr. Acreman, you know Mr. Brandley didn’t do it, don’t you?″ asked defense attorney Mike DeGeurin.
″I don’t know nothing, I wasn’t over there,″ Acreman replied.
″And you know who did it, too, don’t you?″ DeGeurin continued.
″No sir, I don’t,″ Acreman said.
Acreman said on the tape he never reported the incident because he was afraid of Robinson.
″He just said he knew some people,″ Acreman said. ″All he had to do was make a phone call and it would be all over with. I mean, he’s made that comment to me many times.″
District Attorney Peter Speers said he would introduce another videotape on which Acreman denies the statements played for the court Tuedsay.
State District Judge Perry Pickett is considering evidence at a hearing that was moved to Galveston after defense attorneys complained witnesses would feel intimidated in Montgomery County.
The judge must recommend to the Texas Court of Appeals whether Brandley should be granted a new trial, his third.
Attorneys for Brandley are trying to show that Acreman may have killed the girl and that Brandley was the victim of an orchestrated effort to convict him.
On Monday, another janitor said he believed Acreman abducted the girl.
During questioning later Tuedsay, Acreman was asked by DeGeurin if he was recanting his videotaped statements because he was afraid he would be implicated in the murder.
″I know that I’m innocent, but it still doesn’t stop me from worrying about it,″ Acreman said.
Brandley was convicted in 1981 of the murder of Miss Fergeson, who was slain while at Conroe High School with her Bellville High School girls volleyball team. She was the team manager.
Of several janitors in the school at the time, Brandley was the lone black man, and his supporters say that’s the key to Brandley’s conviction and death sentence.