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Dallas County DA Reveals His Great-Grandfather Was Executed in 1932

Posted Feb 28, 2012 12:37 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Texas district attorney who has focused on wrongful convictions revealed in a press conference last week that his own great-grandfather was executed by the state.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins made the startling revelation while commenting on exoneration proceedings, according to the Dallas Morning News and CBSDFW.com. "People don't know that my great-grandfather was executed by this state," he said.

The DA’s office later confirmed that the execution occurred in 1932. According to prison records, the man had escaped from prison three times while serving a 35-year sentence for burglary. He was convicted of killing a man after his third escape, the Associated Press reports.

CBSDFW asked Watkins if his great-grandfather was executed for a crime he didn’t commit. “I’m still researching the details,” Watkins said. He said he made the disclosure to raise awareness of wrongful convictions.

Watkins has pursued death-penalty cases, but he also has focused on the wrongly convicted by creating a special unit to investigate possible miscarriages of justice.

Hat tip to Grits for Breakfast.

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