The following is a summary of events gathered from personal knowledge, Police Statements, detective interviews and Trial testimony.
These events took place on August 06, 2002 in Montgomery coutny, New Caney, Texas at approximately 7.00 pm. Loop 494 runs North/south and FM 1485 runs east/west through this small country town.
I, Delbert Lee Burkett, went to a convenient store, Bill`s 3 G. tp get gas for my fully restored, 1979 silver metallic, sedan Deville Cadillac. This store is located on FM 1485, approximately one half mile east of Loop 494.
While pumping gas, a long time friend, Rodney Burton, pulled up and entered the store. When I finished at the pump I pulled over beside Rodney`s Dodge Dakota pickup truck.
After Rodney exited the store, we stood outside our vehicles for several minutes visiting. Noticing that the small parking lot was becoming crowded, we got into our separate vehicles and headed east on FM 1485 for approximately one mile and pulled into a church parking lot.
We exited our vehicles once again to continue our visit. At this time another vehicle, later to be indentified as a Ford Explorer, pulled off FM 1485, onto the side street by the church and stopped right in the middle of the street.
This man appeared to be staring at us and began talking on a cell phone.
Since we were parked in a private parking lot, in a secluded country area, we decided to leave. Therefore, we jumped back into our separate vehicles and sped away back west on FM 1485, past the store, towards Loop 494. We then turned south on a street that runs parallel to Loop 494. After approximately one quarter mile we stopped. I ran back to Rodney, who was following me, to him know I had received a call to head home. We then proceeded on sought, Rodney crossing over the tracks between the street and Loop 494 at the first crossing. I continued on for approximately another half mile and crossed over to Loop 494 and headed on sought for approximately a quarter mile. I then turned left and travelled another mile into my neighborhood to my home.
About forty-five minutes later after my arrival at home, several Montgomery County Constable deputies arrived to serve a misdemeanor warrant that they had been holding for several months, while one of the Senior officers was attempting to assit me in resolving the matter.
I was transported to the Montgomery County Jail and several days later transferred to the Harris County Jail to appear for the charge named in the warrant. On or about October 04, 2002, a detainer was placed on me by Montgomery County for another Charge: Indecency With a Child/by Exposure.
I was then returned to the Montogomery County Jail after a short period.
The Record Shows that on August 06, 2002, at approximately 7.00 pm, some five miles east of Bill`s 3G store and one mile off FM 1485, in a Country neighborhood, Peach Creek Forest, a girl, twelve years of Age was riding her bike over to visit her friend. The girl (AP) stated that a man was travelling towards her on the same road, stopped his vehicle and got out leaving the Motor running. The mand then dropped his pants, exposing his genitals to her. AP went on past the man, seeing him for only 10-15 seconds, and made contact with her friend`s mother Ms. S. AP told Ms. S. ( who was later named the State`s "Outcry Witness") what had just taken place. They ran outside, but saw nothing or nobody. There was really no way to honestly determine in which direction the suspect fled, since there were several streets in and out of that neighborhood. at that time, AP gave Ms. S. the description of the vehicle and the man.
The car was a Brown Cadillac ("I believe") beat up, not in the best of shape, with faded spray paint type of a paint Job. The mand was White, tall, with shoulder length dark greasy hair and no Shirt on. He was in his 20s early 30s.
This was the extent of description.
Ms S. stated in her original Statement to police, that she immediately called her husband, who was travelling home from New Caney on FM 1485. At trial, she testified that she first called 9-1-1 to report the incident. When this Information became part of the Record, neither the prosecution nor defense attorney made any attempt to request the Court for time to recover the 9-1-1 tape, so the Jury could evaluate the evidence.
After the Trial I found out the procedures necessary to obtain this evidence and did so.
At the beginning of the recording, Ms. S stated that the incident had occurred some ten minutes before. The conversation went on for several additional minutes. Ms. S then testified at the Trial that she then called her husband on his cell phone. Mr. S was suppose to be heading home from New Caney by way of FM 1485.
Mr. S was the Driver of the Ford Explorer back at the church. Ms. S testified that her and AP together gave Mr. S the description of the vehicle and the suspect, as AP previously given to Ms. S. The description previously stated was the full extent
of what Mr. Steed had to work from.
Mr. S testified that he passed a vehicle that he thought matched the description given to him by his wife, which he stated was a dark-colored Cadillac. He turned around in traffic to follow that vehicle, but never caught up with it. He lost that vehicle, which had been headed west at a high rate of Speed, on FM 1485.
He stated that he got a "quick glimpse" of the driver as they passed head-on at high Speed. He claimed it was enough to be able to see that it was a white male, nothing more. He then testified that he saw what he thought was the same vehicle parked at Bill`s 3G store.
The car he spotted was my silver metallic Cadillac.
He claimed to have pulled into the store parking lot and was relaying the license plate numbers of my car and Rodney`s truck to his wife on the phone. He wife stated in her original statement to the police, that Mr. S told her that they "jumped into their car and truck and sped away from the store".
This is proof that we were in fact standing outside our vehicles visiting and nothing appeared as if I had just slid up into the parking lot and had never gotten out as he at one Point testified to. His testimony then went on to concur with the story from the church on as previously stated above. He stated that at some point in that short stretch of road he again lost both of our vehicles and returned home in Peach Creek Forest.
The Record reflects that it was two hours later 9.00 pm when the Police officer responding to the 9-1-1 call arrived at the scene of the incident or the resident of S, to be factual.
The delay was due to the fact that the call was taken as nothing more that a suspicious vehicle, low priority. The license plate to my car was traced to me though the previous owner I had just recently bought the car from.
Rodney`s name was never tied to the license plate number of the Dodge Dakota truck belonging to his father.
The detective that was later assigned to investigate the incident was Rodney`s cousin. Nevertheless, Rodney was never interviewed by the prosecution or defense attorney as a witness.
On January 3, 2007 Rodney provided me with a notorized Affidavit verifying everything I`ve stated above that was related to his presence on the date and time in question. I had found out through Rodney that he had previously been under threat by the prosecutor not to ge involved due to the fact that he was on probation in that same cou
rt, with the same prosecutor and same defense attorney as I was appointed.
His probation for DWI would be in jeopardy and he could face then years in prison.
Eight days later, AP and Mr. S were called by Detective Lewis to come to his office to view a photo spread. There is no way to know what Information was given to them during this eight days. They veiwed the photos just moments apart as noted on spread document. They both circled my photograph. The used was an old one while knowing that I had been arrested eight days before and a photo of me from the day of the incident was available.
AP noted on the document and confirmed at Trial, that she was "not 100% correct on that, I was told not to look exactly at the hair, the color, juist look at the face."
She testified at that point that the man in the picture had a moustache, but was adamant about the fact that the suspect had not had any facial hair whatsoever.
Mr. S noted on the spread document he was given, that the man he circled, "was the man who had exposed himself" He finally testified that he could not have been certain of this, because he never saw the man at the incident. He had only seen me, at the store, and swore under oath that at that time I did not have a moustache or any type of facial hair.
The Booking Photograph, taken the morning after my arrest on the misdemeanor warrant, by Montogmery County Sheriff`s department, was presented at trial. That photo showed me with a full, thick moustache that was extremely noticable.
AP testified that the suspect had no shirt on at the time of the incident. At Trial, she stated that the mand had one small, round Tattoo on his right upper arm, but could not identify what the figure was. There had been nothing whatsoever in any of the Information gathered prior to trial, that mentioned any tattoo at all. the absolute fact is that I had at the time of arrest and trial numerous tattoos on both arms and entire Torso.
I wore a long sleeve shirt at trial. AP went on to testify that the suspect had no other scars, mark or Tattoos beyond the one small on previously stated.
Defense attorney approached the bench and requested that I be allowed to remove my shirt and show the Jury the extent of my Tattoos.
The judge denied this request, stating that I would have to give up my 5th Amendment Right, take the stand and be subjected to cross-examination. I have since learned that this was an egregious error by the trial judge, because Tattoos are considered to be non-testimonial evidence and are not subject to any type cross-examination.
This is simply a case of mistaken identity. I was brought into this matter when Mr. S passed, then lost what possibly wasn`t even the suspect vehicle and with no ill intent, mistook my car for that same vehicle.
I am serving a forty (40) year sentence for something that I am totally innocent of doing.
In the second part of the video below shows Delbert Burkett taking part in the documentry film "Into the Abyss" .