JaTyrone Hollis was convicted of murder and placed on death row in Dallas County at 17 years old. Now, at 20, he’s been acquitted and released, after his attorneys proved his conviction was based on his false confession that was reportedly coerced by prosecutors.
According to NBC News, Hollis was charged with the murder of another 17-year-old, Isaiah Jones, who was shot and killed in his car after a gun deal gone wrong. While Hollis’ attorney’s admit their client was present for the gun deal, they asserted that the teenager was not in the car when Jones was shot. Surveillance footage proved the claim.
Still, prosecutors extracted a confession from Hollis, which was recorded on tape. On the tape, before Hollis is coerced into “confessing,” he is seen maintaining his innocence. “They were already convinced they knew who did it and they were just looking for a confession, they should have been looking at the evidence,” Hollis’ attorney Ashkan Mehryari said.
Another member of Hollis’ defense team, attorney Justin A. Moore, shared some of the details of the teen’s case in a press release, revealing that not only was he wrongfully accused and spent years in jail against his will, but he was also held on an incredulous $750,000 cash bail.
JaTyrone Hollis was found NOT GUILTY of CAPITAL MURDER after spending 2 1/2 years of his life in jail awaiting trial. How is it after being acquitted of all charges, he is still being held, against his will, in jail?? On $750k cash bail?? pic.twitter.com/YAm4hWivos
— Justin A. Moore, ESQ. (@_ja_moore) March 7, 2020
This means that even after Hollis was acquitted of murder, his release couldn’t be processed the same day and Hollis had to spend additional days in prison.
His acquittal is the first time in Dallas County history that a capital murder punishment has been overturned.
Hollis, who was charged in October 2017, has spent nearly three years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. During that time, his grandmother passed away. “The moment I heard the verdict I couldn’t even celebrate, it was so overwhelming,” Hollis said. “I’m happy to be out but I just can’t enjoy it the way I’m supposed to enjoy it.”
He added, “They say you are innocent until proven guilty, well, from my understanding and my being in those shoes I was guilty until proven innocent.”