Justice For James Harry Reyos


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James Harry Reyos has a large and growing number of supporters. He values all the support and would encourage anyone who is interested in his case to make contact with this campaign. The following are just a few of those who are either convinced of James’ innocence or have serious doubts about his guilt:


Dennis Cadra

On Wednesday, April 23, 2003, prosecuting attorney Dennis Cadra (who had assisted the prosecution in James’ case but is now convinced of his innocence) stated on TV's American Justice: “Mr Reyos couldn’t have, couldn’t have committed the murder.”

     Earlier, in 1992, Mr Cadra wrote to the then Governor, Ann Richards, saying: “Despite my 16 years as a prosecutor, I came to the firm conclusion that it was physically impossible for Mr. Reyos to have committed the crime for which he has been in a Texas penitentiary for almost eight years.”

     In James’ Habeas Corpus Writ, filed in 1994, Mr Cadra is quoted as having noticed “flaws in the State’s case against Mr. Reyos.”


John W. Cliff Jr.

On 12 February 2003, John W. Cliff Jr, James’ defense attorney in 1983, wrote in a letter to James: “As I’ve said many times, to you and others, your conviction is the only one in my entire career that I am absolutely convinced was wrong.”


John W. Smith

John W. Smith, former Reyos 1983 defense attorney, currently Ector County District Attorney, Odessa, TX, was quoted in OUT magazine, December 2003, as saying: “I will go to my grave thinking that Harry is innocent. That’s John W. Smith the lawyer speaking. As D.A., I can’t take a position.”


Adam Fellows

On 23 April 2003 Adam Fellows, former Reyos attorney, was quoted on A&E “American Justice” as saying: “The problem with our system that this case [the James Harry Reyos case] really points out most is that, when we discover we’ve wrongly convicted somebody, we don’t seem to really want to do anything about it.”


Brenda Lovelace

In a letter written by Brenda, to TV reporter Gerry May, dated 18 August 2003, it is said: “It is so obvious that Mr Reyos has been wrongfully convicted and has lost 20 years of his life in prison. That is so disturbing to me.”


State Representative Paul Moreno

Rep. Moreno is a strong supporter of James Harry Reyos. On May 17, 2005 he stated on the KEYE investigative documentary: “The facts in this case show me that something went wrong in that case.”


State Representative Terri Hodge

Rep. Terri Hodge has, after studying the facts and consulting James, expressed deep concern about his conviction.


State Representative Harold Dutton

Rep. Harold Dutton has expressed an interest in James’ fight for justice.


Attorney Jeff Blackburn

Attorney Blackburn is the director of the Innocence Project at Texas Tech. In the excellent Austin Chronicle article (17 June 2005), he is quoted as saying: “I think we can do a total turnaround here. This case is constitutionally reprehensible. When there’s this much injustice, there must be a way to get it overturned. It may be torturous, but we’ll do it.”


Sherry Swiney

Ms Swiney is the Director of the Patrick Campaign


Jordan Smith of the Austin Chronicle

Ms Smith wrote a truly excellent article demonstrating James’ innocence. The article highlighted the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and the fact James has a strong alibi. This article, which appeared in the Austin Chronicle in June 2005, is well worth reading. It is available on the following website:



Part of the articles reads: ‘Reyos is gentle, quiet, and, more strikingly, extremely neat and organized – his small room in South Austin is tidy in the extreme. In fact, it is Reyos’ attention to detail, in the form of catalogued receipts, that proved he did not kill Father Ryan.’


S. C. Lomax (a British true crime writer and campaigner for justice)

“The conviction of James Reyos is incredibly worrying because there was absolutely no evidence linking him to the murder of Father Patrick Ryan. There were fingerprints and hairs at the scene of the crime, which did not belong to Mr Reyos or Father Ryan. Also there is very good evidence, from a police officer and one of Mr Reyos’ friends, to show that he had been two hundred miles away from the crime scene that night. Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, during a troubled period in his life, he made the mistake of confessing but soon retracted his confession. Sadly many innocent people do confess to murders they never committed. Mr Reyos is adamant he is innocent and I have no doubt that he is telling the truth. Having spoken to him and having studied his case in detail I am sure that this is a grave miscarriage of justice. I look forward to Mr Reyos’ exoneration so that this injustice can be ended once and for all.”


The late Howard Swindle of the Dallas Morning News

Mr. Swindle wrote in a letter (dated 12 November 1993) that he believed that James is innocent, saying: “[A]n innocent man has been convicted and has served more than 10 years for a crime that I am certain he did not commit. … I and a prosecutor associated with the case have concluded that it was virtually impossible for Mr. Reyos to have even been in Texas at the time of Fr. Ryan’s death.”


Truth in Action Website

“In 1992, The Odessa Police Department destroyed the latent fingerprints obtained at the crime scene, in violation of their own policies to archive all evidence.” – Interview with Tim Wyatt, February 2, 1999.


Former Texas State Representative Manny Najera

Rep. Manny Najera wrote a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (dated 19 October 2001) saying: “Attached is a copy of the letter addressed to me from James Harry Reyos. … The letter sounds rather convincing, especially if former District Attorney Dennis Cadra has in fact written and stated that Mr. Reyos is innocent of the murder of Patrick Ryan. … My reason for writing is to request that you cause a careful investigation of James Reyos’ appeal.”


Former Catholic Archbishop of San Antonio Patrick Flores

Archbishop Flores wrote a letter of concern to Attorney William Dooling requesting assistance to James in his fight for justice. The letter dated 13 January 2002 stated: “If we can be of some assistance to you in rendering assistance to him, please let us hear from you. I recently spoke to Bishop Matthiesen and he still feels that this guy was not the guilty one in the murder of Fr. Ryan some years ago.”


Lance I. Hori, Documentary Producer, Tower Productions

On August 2, 2002 Mr Hori wrote to James expressing his concern over James’ conviction. Mr Hori produced an excellent documentary in which that case against James was eroded so much so that it showed James’ conviction was unjust. His letter says: “From my own perspective, the facts are clearly in your favour, Mr. Reyos. Your case is one of the most outrageous instances of wrongful conviction that I have ever come across. It is a horrible shame and a disgrace to the American judicial system.”


On May 8, 2003 Mr Hori wrote to Governor Rick Perry urging him to help resolve this miscarriage of justice. Part of his letter reads: “I urge you to grant a full pardon to Mr. James Harry Reyos. … Based upon months of intensive research as well as phone and face-to-face interviews with dozens of people involved in this case, I am thoroughly convinced that Mr. Reyos is innocent of the murder for which he was convicted. … By examining strictly the facts of this case, I am certain that you will also conclude that Mr. Reyos is innocent of murder.”


Leroy T. Matthiesen, Bishop Emeritus of Amarillo

Bishop Matthiesen wrote to James on August 30, 2002 to offer support in James’ quest for justice. Part of his letter reads: “My profound hope and my prayer is that your years of unjust incarceration will soon come to an end, and that you will be able to enjoy the freedom you lost and which you richly deserve to have restored. … I pray that the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole will recommend a full pardon and that Governor Rick Perry will sign off on it. Your case demands nothing less than that, with apologies from the State of Texas.


On June 4, 2003 Bishop Matthiesen wrote to Governor Perry urging the Governor to grant James a pardon. His letter reads: “I write to urge you to grant a full pardon to JAMES HARRY REYOS, who was convicted of a crime, the murder of Father Patrick Ryan, a priest working in the Diocese of Amarillo at the time I was Bishop of the Diocese, a crime which Reyos could not possibly have committed.

     “Governor Perry, you have it in your power to right another wrong, just as you did in the case of the Tulia citizens unjustly convicted of trafficking in drugs. Thank you for doing that, and now do it one more time. Freedom unjustly denied to one man diminishes the freedom of us all. Please right this wrong, and restore our pride in being native Texans.


Chris Williamson, KRQE News 13

On November 5, 2002, Chris Williamson from KRQE News 13 wrote to James saying: “For the record, I do believe you. I believe that you are an innocent man. … But regardless of what I believe, or what others think, the fact is that it’s impossible to tie you to this crime.”


Reverend Patrick F. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio

On January 23, 2003 Reverend Flores wrote to Juan F. Aguilera, an Attorney At Law, saying: “As I mentioned to you the other night, I get a lot of correspondence from prison inmates who want guidance or assistance in one way or another. I am sending you the papers I received from James Harry Reyos. … It seems that he was accused falsely of having killed Fr. Pat Ryan, a Catholic priest. Although he has the support of Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen from Amarillo, they have not given him a fair trial.”


Jason Clark, Reporter, News Channel 6

Mr Clark wrote a letter to James after having ran a story about this miscarriage of justice on November 20, 2002. The letter says: “I wish you the best of luck and I hope that my story was able to draw attention to your plight.”


James C. McCloskey, from Centurion Ministries

On August 30, 2004 Mr McCloskey of Centurion Ministries, an organisation whose mission statement is “Seeking Justice for the Innocent in Prison” wrote a letter to Congressman Paul Moreno saying: “Over the years of his incarceration, many people have come to believe that he was innocent of this crime. … We are very familiar with this case having studied it for years and join these many others throughout the United States in believing that he is indeed innocent of this horrendous crime. … We also firmly believe, along with the late Howard Swindle of the Dallas Morning News, that Mr. Reyos would proven innocent and the real killer discovered if the Odessa Police had not destroyed all the evidence taken from the crime scene. … There has been a grave injustice done to Mr. Reyos.”


David Clohessy, from the Survivors Network of those Abused by priests

On February 2, 2005 Mr Clohessy wrote to Governor Rick Perry voicing his support for James, who was a victim of sexual abuse by Father Ryan: “One of the hallmarks of the American legal system is its commitment to justice. “Justice delayed is justice denied.” SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has great concern about a Texas prisoner, a survivor of abuse, who has been imprisoned for over 20 years. … Reyos could not have committed this crime because of confirmed documentation proving he was elsewhere, hours away, at the time of the murder. Careful analysis of the evidence points indisputably to Reyos being nowhere near Odessa at that time. … We stand with a fellow survivor, asking you to act upon the pardon request.”


Eddie Rodriguez, State Representative

On March 2. 2002 Rep. Rodriquez wrote to James saying, “I would be happy to assist you with your claim of wrongful conviction.”


Jim Harrington

On May 17, 2005 Jim Harrington stated on the KEYE investigative documentary: “You put all the facts together and it is physically impossible for Reyos to have committed the murder. Impossible. Because he had been picked up in New Mexico and that time is documented by the State Trooper, so it is impossible for him to have done it. … Here you have all the evidence showing he did not do it. You have the district attorney, who ten years later has changed his mind and says, ‘I now believe he didn’t do it.’ You have the bishop who was in charge of the priest totally convinced that he did not do it. You have physical evidence indicating it’s impossible for him to do it. So why doesn’t the board of pardons and paroles, why doesn’t that board do what it’s supposed to do and do some justice?” To view the video of this documentary please visit www.keyetv.com


Ernest Duff, Executive Director of the Life After Exoneration Program

On July 21, 2005 Mr Duff wrote to James to pass on his best wishes and words of support: “I wish you well as you continue to try to prove your innocence, and when the day of your exoneration comes, my organisation will be there to support you as needed. … I wish you the best, and you are in my prayers.”


William Brewer, prison chaplain

Mr Brewer was the chaplain at the Tennessee Colony prison where James served part of his sentence. In James’ Habeas Corpus Writ it states: ‘prison chaplain William Brewer concluded that “a grave injustice was committed and continues to exist.”



James is currently (June 2006) attempting to persuade the authorities to have a bulky monitoring device removed from around his waist. Due to the conditions of his parole he has to observe a curfew and is locked in his home at weekends and public holidays. The device is attached to him to ensure he does not break the rules. As a law abiding citizen he believes it is wrong he has to wear this heavy device which restricts his activities. In order to achieve his aim, a number of letters of support, acting as character references, have been sent to the authorities. These include:


Donald L. Darling

On 24 December 2005 Mr Darling wrote: ‘To whom it may concern,


I’ve known James Harry Reyos for six months. Through James, I have carefully examined supporting documents that indicate his innocence of the crime he was convicted of. The following is based on person to person visits and phone conversations.


Here is what I have observed about James. He is:

-         always neat, clean and well groomed.

-         very intelligent and articulate.

-         an excellent researcher into matters involved with his incarceration.

-         a superb records keeper, and is intimately familiar with the content of those records.

-         able to communicate effectively with others.


Extreme adversity often has extreme consequences. It can either build character, or destroy it. To paraphrase Emerson, “You gain the strength of the problems that you overcome.” Adversity is no stranger to James Harry Reyos. I believe that James has responded to extreme adversity by allowing it to build character within himself. That is probably the best compliment/recommendation that I can give to anyone.


I hope you will give James the freedom that will enable him to further prove his trustworthiness and potential to become a contributing, taxpaying citizen.’


Brenda Lovelace

On 19 January 2006 Ms Lovelace wrote: ‘I have known James Harry Reyos for approximately three years. I have found Mr Reyos to be a person of high integrity, very intelligent, responsible and very kind. I consider him to be one of my best friends because Mr Reyos is trustworthy as well.


I became acquainted with Mr Reyos after having watched a special about his case on A&Es American Justice. I view this program to be very unbiased and the program drew a picture of a self-effacing, just and honest man that was wrongly convicted of a murder that he could not possibly have committed. I was so touched by his story that I wrote to Mr Reyos and he responded, thus, leading to a solid friendship between us.


I feel that the Texas judicial system has made a grave error in Mr Reyos’ conviction and is not acting in a responsible manner in making a wrong right by exonerating Mr Reyos.’


Jack Bartlett

On 7 March 2006 Mr Bartlett wrote: ‘I am very lucky to have hired James, he is always on time and ready to work. He is a wonderful person to work with an to get to know. I am very often amazed by the things he has been through, and how he always has a smile and a great attitude towards everything he does. … I support my friend James in all of his endeavours.’


Andrew Burrell

On 20 March 2006 Mr Burrell wrote: ‘I have had the opportunity to work with James Reyos since last September. He has shown himself to be an efficient, reliable and conscientious employee. I consider James to be an asset to the staff.’


Carlos Patino

On 16 February 2006 Mr Patino wrote: ‘I have known Mr. Reyos for the last 13 months. He is a tenant of mine here at South Austin Market Place.


My first impression of Mr Reyos, after meeting him for the first time, was very positive. He displayed a unique personality: respectful, kind, caring, intelligent, honest, and easygoing. I have a high regard, and great respect, toward Mr. Reyos.


I was made aware of his current plight, of being wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit, after reading a local newspaper’s account of his case. I am convinced that he is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, and I support his fight for justice. If Mr. Reyos did not commit the crime, he should not be punished for it. He does not fit the profile of a criminal! Mr Reyos deserves justice by the State of Texas, so that he can move on with his life.’



Kate Germond

On 29 March 2006 Kate Germond, Assistant Director at Centurion Ministries, wrote: ‘To whom this concerns:


‘We have known Mr Reyos from many years during his wrongful, (in our opinion), incarceration. Case facts aside, we were very impressed with him. He took, what for many would be an untenable situation, and turned it into a time to make personal changes, as well as to fight tenaciously for his freedom. …


‘I would encourage you to let him get on with his life. … I encourage you to let Mr Reyos enjoy his life without monitoring devices on his body.’



Paul C. Moreno

On 30 March 2006 Paul Moreno, Dean of the Texas House of Representatives, wrote: ‘To Whom It May Concern,


This letter is in support of Mr. James Harry Reyos, which I have known and worked with regarding his defense for the past three years. I have found Mr. Reyos to be a pleasant and respectful gentleman. He has demonstrated honesty and concern for others.


I have had numerous interactions with Mr. Reyos and find him to be quite articulate and intelligent. Through the interactions I have had with Mr. Reyos, I do not believe he is capable of committing the crime he was convicted of, to the contrary, I find Mr. Reyos to be kind hearted and genuinely concerned for the well being of others. He does not embody the profile of an individual who would commit a grievous crime like murder.


Mr Reyos has my full support in his endeavours to clear his name and obtain the freedom he has been seeking for over twenty years.’



Eddie Rodriguez

On 31 March 2006, Mr Rodriguez, State Representative, wrote: ‘To Whom It May Concern:


I have diligently reviewed documentation indicating his innocence and my office has contacted his parole officer to verify his good standing on supervision. My legislative staff has also had the opportunity to meet with Mr Reyos to discuss the facts of his case. additionally, on the occasions Mr Reyos has visited my legislative office, he has always presented himself in a professional manner in both his appearance and demeanor.’



Scott Lomax

In April 2006 Mr Lomax wrote: ‘To Whom It May Concern,


I am writing to you regarding James Harry Reyos who, over the past year and a half, I have become well acquainted with through the exchange of e-mails, letters and we have spoken on the telephone.


I have found James to be a man who is a pleasure to know. He is an intelligent, caring, compassionate, decent human being. At no point in time has he ever displayed any signs of anger or signs of a violent disposition. On the contrary, he conveys an image of a man who has no ill feelings towards others.


I have studied, in great depth, James’ case and I have reached the conclusion that he is an innocent man. Throughout the time I researched the facts, having studied documents from the time of the trial and subsequent papers, having kept an open mind throughout my research, I did not come across a single detail that has lent itself to a credible suggestion that James Harry Reyos was responsible for the brutal death of Father Patrick Ryan. OF James’ innocence I have no doubt.


If you should ever wish to consult with me regarding this matter please do not hesitate to get in touch.’


James has written letters to Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, and his predecessor, the current President of the USA, George W. Bush. The text of the letters can be read by clicking here.