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Stephen Lynn Russell

Other Texas Robbery Cases
In September 1979, a restaurant in Garland, Texas, was robbed at gunpoint.  The manager and three other people witnessed the robbery.

The manager identified 26-year-old Stephen Lynn Russell, who had prior felony drug convictions, as the robber, picking him from a photo lineup and identifying him at trial.  Russell claimed he was with his mother at the time of the robbery, applying for a bank loan.

In March 1980, a Dallas County Criminal District Court jury convicted Russell of the robbery, and he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
After Russell’s conviction, a man named Robert Wilkey confessed to the robbery.  Two women who were in the getaway car also told police that Wilkey was the real culprit.

In 1985, the store manager said he had originally picked Wilkey out of a photo lineup, but changed and chose Russell after police pressured him.  Wilkey confessed that same year, but could not be prosecuted because the five year statute of limitations had passed.  Russell’s legal appeals failed.

In 1990, at the urging of Russell’s attorney, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and discovered that one of the women in the getaway car had initially told Dallas police that Wilkey was the robber, but that information had been “inadvertently lost.”

The district attorney recommended that the parole board grant Russell a pardon.  In April 1990, the parole board unanimously recommended a pardon, and the governor issued a full pardon shortly after.  Russell later received $25,000 and a monthly annuity of $1,500 in state compensation.
- Stephanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 11/26/2016
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1979
Sentence:50 years
Age at the date of reported crime:26
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No