HOUSTON – Lamar Burks, a man convicted of murder in 1997, will get a new hearing about his conviction in March, KPRC 2 learned Tuesday.
Burks has always maintained his innocence and the decision to grant him a hearing was made after a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent connected to Burks’ case was convicted for lying in other cases. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that the disgraced DEA agent involved will be brought to court in March to testify.
It was a crime scene strewn around the parking lot of a late-night eatery on Cavalcade Street in Houston’s Fifth Ward. Earl Perry, 28, was shot to death. Perry’s body lay in the corner of the parking lot of what was T’s Restaurant, located on the 3800 block of Cavalcade Street. Witnesses on scene told Houston police a dice game resulted in a commotion, leading to gunfire.
Perry was shot three times, according to his autopsy report.
The fatal blow was to his back. Investigators recovered one die next to his body. Prosecutors initially charged Burks in connection with Perry’s murder in 1998, although that charge was dropped after the sole witness recanted, claiming it was a case of mistaken identity.
Burks’ freedom wouldn’t last, however. He was reindicted in 2000 after a new witness, Randy Lewis, came forward, testifying that Burks was the gunman.
Both Burks and a man named Derevin Whitaker were charged in Perry’s death, although the charge against Whitaker was later dismissed. Burks was tried and found guilty. Another man, Clayton Brown, was found guilty, as well. Brown served a 5-year sentence.
Nineteen years later, both Brown and Lewis have said Lamar Burks was not the gunman and was not at the scene of the crime on June 30, 1997. Burks has maintained his innocence, insisting he was in Opelousas, Louisiana for his sister’s wedding the week of the murder. His legal counsel says phone records and a photograph of Burks at the wedding corroborate his claim.
At the center of the investigation were two DEA agents – Chad Scott and Jack Schumacher. A federal jury convicted Scott on seven counts in August. Scott is accused of perjury, obstruction of justice and falsifying government records, among other allegations. The charges stem from Scott’s work as a DEA agent in Louisiana after he was transferred out of the Houston area.
Burks’ claims Scott is guilty of the same in his case and both Lewis and Brown now claim Scott coerced them into providing false statements, court documents said.