FREE ROB WILL: An Innocent Man on Texas Death Row
FREE ROB WILL: An Innocent Man on Texas Death Row
Why this petition matters
Rob Will was convicted and sentenced to death almost 20 years ago for a crime he did not commit. He is still fighting for his life on Texas Death Row, in one of the most notorious prisons in America: the Allan B. Polunsky Unit. It is essential for awareness to be raised for this miscarriage of justice as Rob comes to the end of his appeals process. After being wrongfully convicted for half of his life, and surviving the most inhumane conditions possible, please help us achieve justice and bring Rob home.
Rob was convicted in the fatal shooting of a police officer based on circumstantial evidence, despite the fact that :
- Police radio logs prove he had been searched and handcuffed prior to the murder
- All forensic test results were inconsistent with Rob being the shooter
- Numerous witnesses gave sworn affidavits that Rob's co-defendant confessed to the murder
- Several people witnessed the co-defendant after the murder covered in blood
- County jail records show the co-defendant attempted to put a "hit" on Rob prior to trial
-The co-defendant (the son of a prominent police officer) was never thoroughly investigated and was charged only with theft
- The co-defendants fingerprints, shoe casts, and other forensic evidence were never tested. In fact, his DNA was never even submitted for comparison. His clothes were tested but due to thorough bleaching, no DNA could be extracted from the blood stains on them.
In 2012, a U.S. Federal District Judge said, "On top of considerable evidence supporting Will's innocence and the important errors in the trial court, there must also be addressed the absence of eyewitness testimony or strongly probative forensic evidence ... only circumstantial evidence supports Will's conviction and death sentence....
“…Will has submitted no less than five witnesses who have stated that [the co-defendant] confessed to murdering Deputy Hill. Beyond that, the trial court’s exclusion of [witness’] testimony linking [the co-defendant] to the murder was almost certainly an error of grave proportion"
In August 2020, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (Federal Court) stated,
"As the district court stressed, there is “considerable evidence supporting Will’s innocence,” including “the total absence of eyewitness testimony or strongly probative forensic evidence.” There were “disturbing uncertainties” of Will’s culpability even before the introduction of the withheld evidence.
Now, with the new evidence in hand, the uncertainties are even more disturbing."
They continue, "He’s demonstrated it is reasonably likely that, after hearing the new evidence alongside the old evidence, every reasonable juror would have some level of reasonable doubt."
At the time this crime was committed, Rob was a successful college student studying Child Psychology at the Community College in Houston. He had dreams to help children who, like himself, had a less than ideal upbringing. However, due to ineffective counsel during his trial and after, as well as the prosecution withholding evidence (Maryland v. Brady) and juror intimidation by the “Wall of Blue” uniformed police officers at his trial, he was convicted and sentenced to death in 2002. Rob has sat on Texas Death Row ever since.
Rob’s case sat in the notoriously conservative 5th Circuit of Appeals since September 2018, and as noted above, his appeal was given a decision in August 2020. Thankfully, the Fifth Circuit Court agreed with Rob's defense and has granted him a "successive habeas petition", giving the District Court permission to rule on Rob's Brady violation and Actual Innocence claims that failed to be properly presented during his post-conviction appeal. While this is great news, we still have a steep hill to climb to achieve full justice for Rob, which is where your signature on this petition comes in.
According to recent studies, it's estimated 10% of inmates on death row are likely innocent. Without intervention, this will undoubtedly end in the execution of an innocent man.
Please consider joining us in fighting for Rob’s life by:
- Signing our petition and sharing his story
- Visit our website FreeRobWill.org to read more details about Rob’s case
- Follow our social media (@freerobwill on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter)
- View our new mini documentary from NowThis News
- Read & share Will Texas Execute an Innocent Man? by Rolling Stone Magazine
Please join us and demand justice for Rob Will.
"Rob Will has been sitting on Texas Death Row for over 18 years for a crime he did not commit. That represents over half of his life and the most tragic thing about it is that it seems almost everyone involved for the State, will straight up tell you they believe he was wrongfully convicted. The veracity of the evidence supporting his innocence is not even challenged or in question. The mismanagement of this case and the attendant evidence is nothing short of monumental. Having been trained in forensic psychology and having spent many years in the litigation arena, I am appalled. The standard for taking someone’s freedom in America is and should be extremely high. The standard for taking someone’s life in America is and should be astronomically high. That standard has not even almost been met in the case of Rob Will. Enough is enough and too much is too much. It’s time to set this matter straight and send this innocent man home."
- Dr. Phil McGraw, Ph.D
"Rob Will is an innocent man on death row, but he is so much more than that. He is an accomplished poet, painter and yogi, a voracious reader of classic literature, a student of philosophy, classical music, philology and the law. As a trained and certified paralegal, Rob is acutely aware of how the system has failed him at every level and every turn, and yet he harbors no ill will; has no bitterness towards anyone. This man is kind, thoughtful and brilliant. He would be a tremendous asset to free society. I am committed to helping bring him home to his son and grandson, where he belongs."
- Jason Flom, CEO of Lava Records NYC, Founding Board Member of The Innocence Project, Wrongful Conviction Podcast Host