Alfred Williams

On October 23, 1986, 53-year-old Alfred Williams was arrested by members of the Houston Police Department’s Southeast Tactical Response unit on a charge of selling cocaine to a police informant.

Williams went on trial in May 1987 and Tactical Response Unit officer Norma Hernandez testified that she gave money to the informant, who met with Williams and purchased cocaine.

Williams denied selling any cocaine, but a Harris County Criminal District Court jury convicted him on May 29, 1987. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In 1988, another informant for the elite narcotics unit exposed corruption by several officers, who had planted drugs and falsely testified in court. More than 100 pending cases were dismissed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and at least three convictions were set aside in 1988. Several of the officers were indicted, including Hernandez, who was charged with committing perjury at Williams’ trial.

Prosecutors asked then-Governor Bill Clements to pardon Williams because he was innocent. On March 1, 1989, Williams was pardoned and released.

Williams testified at Hernandez’s trial in 1991. She was acquitted.

– Maurice Possley

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State:Texas
County:Harris
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1986
Convicted:1987
Exonerated:1989
Sentence:30 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age:53
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No