Former DA Faces Disbarment from Decades Old Case

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

BURLESON COUNTY, Texas After 18 years behind bars, a man accused in a brutal Somerville murder more than two decades ago may soon get the justice he says he's been looking for.

On Monday, the Texas State Bar found there was "just cause" to move forward with a complaint filed against former Burleson County District Attorney Charles Sebesta. Sebesta faces anything from a private reprimand, to disbarment.

The case goes back more than two decades, when Anthony Graves was convicted and sentenced to prison for the brutal murders of a Somerville grandmother, her daughter and four grand children.

He spent 18 years behind bars, many of those on death row. A federal appeals court later reversed Graves' conviction after finding prosecutors withheld evidence and obtained false statements from witnesses.

Graves was later released after a new prosecutor decided there wasn't enough evidence to retry the case.

"I don't expect an apology from the prosecutor," said Graves. "I'm just expecting justice from the state of Texas."

Sebesta won't say much about the case, but he said he doesn't believe he sent an innocent man to prison.

As for the State Bar's decision, he said it's a case of been there, done that. He said the State Bar considered the same complaint in 2007.

"An independent panel dismissed it and said there was no just cause to proceed. And said it could not be appealed," said Sebesta.

Sebesta said when they asked about the change of heart, they told him a mistake had been made.

"They said oh, well the administrative staff made a mistake seven years ago and sent you the wrong form letter. It was not dismissed," said Sebesta.

Sebesta said the State Bar lost that original file, and it's up to them to find it.

Graves said his fight is ultimately about justice, not revenge.

"Our system fails when innocent people go to prison, and the guilty are still left out here to torment its citizens," said Graves.

Both Graves and Sebesta have created websites. For more information, click on the links added to this story.

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