Save Arthur Brown

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Governor Greg Abbott

Arthur with Onetha, the mother of his children, and the note that she wrote him on the back of the photograph.

Arthur Brown has lived on Texas death row for 30 years. Arthur has long maintained his innocence, and his conviction was based on thin evidence, including forensic evidence that a court has called “plainly flawed” and eyewitness testimony obtained through faulty police techniques. More recently, Arthur’s new attorneys from the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs and the Dallas Capital Habeas Unit have uncovered evidence--previously suppressed by the District Attorney’s office--that shows that other men, not Arthur, committed the murder. And Arthur’s jury never heard the story of his childhood, rife with abject poverty, physical and emotional abuse, and violence. Nor did they hear about Arthur’s intellectual impairments and his symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Disorder.

The State of Texas seeks to execute Arthur on March 9, 2023, despite evidence of his innocence and signs that he has serious intellectual impairments.

Arthur’s attorneys have asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute his death sentence to life in prison or, in the alternative, to grant a reprieve. They are also advocating for relief before the Texas courts.

Join the us in insisting the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott #SaveArthurBrown

More Information about Arthur Brown

Arthur’s Childhood

Arthur was born to an alcoholic mother and an abusive father. Born in 1970, Arthur grew up in abject poverty. He was his father’s 36th child. Arthur’s mother binge drank throughout her pregnancy with Arthur. Her drinking was so severe that at month four or five of her pregnancy with Arthur, she started hemorrhaging and had to go on bedrest.

Arthur’s mother’s severe alcoholism continued throughout his childhood. On school nights, she would come home at 3 a.m. after partying at clubs and wake up her children and force them to recite the Lord’s Prayer; they had so much trouble sleeping that Arthur’s father took them to sleep on a mattress in their van. Arthur’s mother drank every day.

Arthur’s father severely abused the family. He beat Arthur’s mother and subjected her to emotional abuse. Arthur grew up seeing his mother’s face bruised and battered from his father’s fists. Arthur’s father beat Arthur until blood poured out of his mouth and whipped him with a leather belt. Arthur’s parents abandoned him and his siblings alone without food, leaving them to scavenge for something to eat. When Arthur was 9 years old, his father abandoned the family, causing them to descend further into extreme poverty. Arthur’s mother took him and his siblings to live in the projects, into an apartment filled with roaches and rats. The projects were a violent place to grow up. When he was a child, Arthur saw a drug dealer pull a gun on his uncle just a few feet from his doorstep.

Arthur’s Intellectual Impairments

Arthur suffered from intellectual impairments, arising from potential intellectual disability and Fetal Alcohol Disorder. Arthur showed signs of possible intellectual disability from a young age. He was placed in special education, and scored in the range of intellectual disability on an IQ test whe he was 8 years old. He also showed signs of Fetal Alcohol Disorder, a form of brain damage that can happen when a mother drinks extremely heavily during her pregnancy.

Arthur with his life partner, Onetha, and one of their children.

Arthur’s Family

Although he faced extreme adversity, Arthur developed deep bonds of love with his family, his life partner, and his children. As he grew older, Arthur became close to his many siblings and often babysat his nieces and nephews. He formed a committed partnership with Onetha, the woman he loved, and they had children and lived together.

Arthur’s Wrongful Conviction

When he was only 21 years old, Arthur was arrested for a crime he did not commit. His conviction was based on forensic evidence that a court has since described as “plainly false” and questionable eyewitness testimony. At age 21, Arthur was arrested for the killings of four people in a southwest Houston home in 1993. His conviction was based on faulty forensic evidence--ballistics testimony that a trial court has since observed was “plainly false”--and inconsistent eyewitness testimony that either failed to identify Arthur at all, or only identified him after suggestive police tactics. One eyewitness initially described assailants who looked nothing like Arthur, only identifying Arthur after highly suggestive photo spreads. A second eyewitness never identified Arthur in a photo spread, only identifying him at trial because he was sitting in the defendant’s seat; but since then, that same eyewitness has been unable to identify Arthur at all. A third eyewitness studied a photo spread for 30 minutes before identifying someone other than Arthur. That eyewitness only finally identified Arthur when guided to do so by an officer. Two more eyewitnesses were never able to identify Arthur.

In 2022, Arthur received new lawyers, who, in 2023, uncovered evidence that other men--not Arthur--committed the murder. This evidence had been suppressed by the District Attorney’s office and had never been handed over to defense counsel.

Arthur's Life on Death Row

Arthur has shown himself to be a peaceful and upstanding person on Texas death row. While on death row for the past 30 years, Arthur has had zero incidents of violence. Anthony Graves, a death row exoneree, described how Arthur has dispelled tensions between people who were incarcerated and showering them with “wisdom and knowledge.” In Arthur, he saw someone who was always trying to improve himself, someone striving “to make the world a better place, advocate for people, and advocate for justice.”

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To: Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Governor Greg Abbott
From: [Your Name]

Dear Governor Abbott, Chairman Gutiérrez, and Members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:

I am deeply alarmed that the State of Texas seeks to execute Arthur Brown, a man who has been wrongfully convicted. When he was 21 years old, Mr. Brown was arrested for a crime he did not commit. His conviction was obtained using false evidence. His newly appointed attorneys have just discovered that the District Attorney suppressed exculpatory evidence showing that other people committed the murder.

Mr. Brown also shows signs of having intellectual impairments, including possible Fetal Alcohol Disorder - impairments that made him even more vulnerable to the injustice of this wrongful conviction.

Increasing the inhumanity of Mr. Brown’s conviction is the fact that his jury never heard mitigating evidence of the hardships he experienced as a child, including abject poverty, neglect, and severe abuse. Despite all he experienced, though, Mr. Brown grew to be a loving son, sibling, and father, until his arrest and wrongful conviction separated him from his life partner, his children, and his extended family.

Please do not allow the execution of this wrongfully convicted man, with intellectual impairments, to occur. I respectfully request the Board recommend clemency for Arthur Brown and for Governor Abbott to grant it; or in the alternative, that Mr. Brown be granted a 180-day reprieve so that his attorneys can continue their investigation into his innocence in light of the suppressed evidence.