Lies and greed placed an innocent man in prison for over 3 decades.

According to a report from the Dallas Morning News, Ben Spencer, 56, has been recommended for release from prison after spending 34 years incarcerated for a crime he did not commit.

In 1988, Spencer was convicted for the fatal aggravated robbery of clothing executive Jeffrey Young. Spencer was sentenced to life in prison, but has always maintained his innocence.

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As it turns out, a woman named Gladys Oliver wrongly accused Spencer of the crime because she was seeking the $25,000 reward offered by Ross Perot, a Dallas billionaire who knew the victim’s family.  Oliver knew that the money would only be awarded if the trial ended in a conviction.

“We conducted an independent investigation, and when we did that, it was apparent that Spencer was wrongfully convicted,” said Cynthia Garza, chief of the conviction integrity unit.

The original trials were solely based on eyewitness testimony, and no other evidence from then or now has linked Spencer to the slaying of Young.

The Atlantic reported earlier this year that a trial judge, the foreman of Spencer's jury, independent investigators, attorneys, and even some witnesses who originally testified against him have said in recent years that he had nothing to do with the crime. Spencer, they report, had no history of violence and was convicted on some very flimsy evidence. He even had an alibi, and no murder weapon was ever found.

Spencer's freedom is pending while he awaits a final decision from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The decision could take several months, but Spencer's lawyers have asked District Judge Lela Mays to release him while he waits.

Gary Udashen and Cheryl Wattley, the lawyers for Ben Spencer, also believe that they know who the true killer of Jeffrey Young is. The two lawyers believe that Michael Hubbard, who is currently serving a life sentence in Texas for aggravated robbery, is the true culprit. Hubbard was a known criminal in the area at that time, and actually invoked his right to not incriminate himself at the 2007 hearing in Spencer’s case.

Hopefully Spencer and the Young family both receive the justice they deserve in 2021.

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