Meet the Exonerees

Lacresha Murray

State: Texas
Date of Birth: 1985
Incident Date: 05/24/1996
Age at Arrest: 11
Conviction Date: 1998
Age When Exonerated: 14
Exonerated Date: 2001
Time Served: 3
Conviction: Murder
False Confession: Yes
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

Eleven years old and big for her age, Lacresha Murray was portrayed as a child monster by her prosecutors, who accused her of killing two-year-old Jayla Belton. The prosecution's case rested on signed confessions, which had been taken after Murray had been separated from her family for four days. Murray has learning difficulties and did not fully understand the confession she had signed; she was not informed of the meaning of the word “homicide.” The detectives on her case had also told her that she could go home “once things were straightened out.” Her conviction was based almost entirely on these statements, which one of Murray's attorneys called an “extracted 'confession.'” She was sentenced to twenty-five years. Lacresha was exonerated after spending over three years in prison when an appellate court ruled that the police violated her rights when they interrogated her. It is now known that Jayla likely died as a result of the chronic abuse she was suffering at the hands of other individuals.