Charges against innocent Texas man dismissed in Fort Worth sexual assault case

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A judge dismissed charges on Tuesday against a 49-year-old Alvord man who has been declared innocent years after he was convicted of sexual assault in Fort Worth.

371st District Judge Ryan Hill issued the order regarding Roger Earl Hawkins after the state’s highest criminal court ruled Hawkins was innocent of his 1993 conviction.

Hawkins was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child on Dec. 16, 1996, according to Tarrant County criminal court records.

The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit worked with the court-appointed attorney for Hawkins, Adam Arrington of Fort Worth, to review and reinvestigate Hawkins’ conviction.

“This is about setting the record straight,” Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said in a Tuesday news release.

The new investigation determined Hawkins was innocent of the aggravated sexual assault charges alleged against him.

The alleged crime occurred on Nov. 15, 1991, in Fort Worth, according to court records. Hawkins was 19 years old at that time.

The Conviction Integrity Unit and Arrington also determined that Hawkins’ due process rights were violated because prosecutors in 1993 withheld favorable material evidence, including alibi information, and that his previous attorney provided him ineffective assistance of counsel.

On Aug. 24, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Hawkins had established by clear and convincing evidence that he is innocent. The court vacated his conviction in this case.

Judge Hill agreed that Hawkins is entitled to relief on all grounds.

“The criminal justice system failed Mr. Hawkins,” Conviction Integrity Unit Chief Steven Conder said in a Tuesday news release. “He was wrongfully convicted because there was no thorough investigation of his case or defense of him. Mr. Hawkins’ life was fundamentally altered by mistakes made and I’m proud we were able to correct them.”