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Troy Mansfield

Other Williamson County Exonerations
In August 1992, 25-year-old Troy Mansfield was charged with sexually molesting a four-year-old girl in Round Rock, Texas.

The charge stemmed from a play date that the girl, who was a neighbor’s daughter, had with Mansfield’s four-year-old son and two-year-old son on August 1, 1992. When the girl, identified as S.B., went home that day, she told her mother that Mansfield had tickled her bottom and stuck a finger in her anus while she was wearing panties.

The girl’s mother called police, who asked Mansfield to come to the station on August 4. He assumed the call was related to a recent misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana and thought police were going to ask him to identify his source.

Instead, he was accused of molesting S.B. When Mansfield denied it, the detective told him that unless he confessed, police would arrest his wife and take away their children. When Mansfield continued his denials, the detective said that if Mansfield agreed to go to a mental health center, pay the fee, and bring a receipt showing he had gotten counseling, the charge would be dropped.

Mansfield said he would do that, but didn’t know where he would get the money. The detective then told Mansfield that he had just confessed and it was “time to speak up and take responsibility” for what he had done.

At the same time, police brought Mansfield’s wife, Amy, and their two children to the station and told Amy that he had confessed.

Meanwhile, according to a statement Mansfield made later, the detective admitted that the offer to go to a mental health facility was a ruse. The detective “told me the little girl’s statement was enough in and of itself to charge me with this offense and that I would be charged…I finally said, after being asked many times and being told that I was guilty, that I was guilty of the offense I was being accused of. I made these statements strictly because I felt boxed in and that the only answers that were acceptable were the ones that found me guilty.”

Mansfield was charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child.

In June 1993, Williamson County prosecutors told Mansfield that if he took and passed a polygraph examination, the charges would be dismissed. Mansfield agreed and denied molesting S.B., but the examiner said that his responses indicated deception, so the charges were not dismissed.

In September 1993, the prosecution offered to dismiss the first-degree aggravated sexual assault charge—which carried a maximum penalty of life in prison—if Mansfield pled guilty to a charge of second-degree indecency with a child. In return, Mansfield would spend 120 days in the Williamson County Jail and be on probation for 10 years. He also would be required to register as a sex offender.

Mansfield agreed to the deal because he feared going to prison and losing his family, particularly after his defense lawyer told him that the prosecutor said he hoped Mansfield would reject the deal because he enjoyed putting child molesters in prison. On September 13, the day he was set for trial, Mansfield pled guilty and went to the Williamson County Jail.

Nearly 20 years later, in 2011, Michael Morton was exonerated of the 1986 murder of his wife in Williamson County when DNA tests excluded him and pointed to another man as the real killer. Morton was released after spending nearly 25 years in prison.

At the request of Morton’s attorneys, the Texas Supreme Court held a Court of Inquiry. In April 2013, a judge found that the former Williamson County District Attorney who prosecuted the Morton case, Ken Anderson, should face criminal contempt and tampering charges for failing to turn over evidence pointing to Morton's innocence. Anderson had since become a judge, but he resigned his judgeship in September 2013.

On November 8, 2013, Anderson was sentenced to 10 days in jail and agreed to disbarment for withholding evidence that sent Morton to prison for 24 years, 7 months, and 11 days.

Mansfield by then had been on a sex offender registry for more than two decades. He sought to reinvestigate his case because Anderson was the elected District Attorney at the time that he was prosecuted and evidence developed during the Morton post-conviction investigation showed that the prosecution had concealed evidence of Morton’s innocence.

When Morton and Mansfield were prosecuted, the District Attorney’s office had a “closed file” policy, meaning that the prosecution did not open its files to defense attorneys. As a result—as the Morton case showed—prosecutors could conceal evidence of innocence from defendants.

The policy was later changed to allow defense attorneys access to prosecution files. In 2014, Mansfield got the prosecution file in his case and discovered a trove of evidence supporting his innocence.

In March 2015, Mansfield’s attorney, Kristin Etter, filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to vacate his conviction. The petition outlined a series of lies the prosecution told in an attempt to extract a guilty plea from Mansfield, as well as evidence pointing to Mansfield’s innocence.

• Handwritten notes in the case jacket of the prosecution file showed that on August 26, 1992—less than a month after the alleged molestation—the prosecution had doubts. “Child’s version to me differs from version to police (greatly differs).”

• Handwritten notes inside the prosecution case file jacket dated June 23, 1993—about the same time that the prosecution said the case would be dropped if Mansfield passed a polygraph examination—said that S.B. and her mother were interviewed on May 18, 1993. “Victim will be difficult to sponsor in Court. She told me she does not remember what happened! I suggest this case be disposed of w/out trial, since victim cannot testify…Spent 2 hours w/this victim—will be nigh impossible to sponsor her in court. At one point, told me nothing happened, then says little boy might have it (D’s son).”

• Mansfield’s defense attorney told him that first assistant district attorney Paul Womack said he had a video of S.B. describing in detail what Mansfield did to her, and that a physician had conducted a physical examination of S.B. that corroborated her account of being anally molested. However, there was no video and there had been no physical examination by a doctor.

In response to the petition, the prosecution agreed that information favorable to Mansfield had been concealed and should have been disclosed prior to his guilty plea.

On January 22, 2016, Williamson County Judge Doug Shaver granted the petition and vacated Mansfield’s conviction. The prosecution then dismissed the charge.

Mansfield subsequently filed a grievance with the Texas State Bar against Womack, who was the first assistant district attorney at the time Mansfield was prosecuted. In November 2016, Womack agreed to be suspended indefinitely by the state bar.

In January 2018, Mansfield filed a federal lawsuit against Williamson County alleging that Womack, Anderson, and other prosecutors had violated his civil rights by failing to disclose the evidence of his innocence. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2020. The dismissal was upheld by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in March 2022.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 1/30/2018
Last Updated: 4/2/2022
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1992
Sentence:3 months
Age at the date of reported crime:25
Contributing Factors:False Confession, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No