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Innocence Project of Texas files lawsuit for man convicted of murder in death of Catholic priest

The Innocence Project of Texas filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a murder conviction of James Reyos.

ODESSA, Texas — The Innocence Project of Texas has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a murder conviction of James Reyos in wake of the case being reopened.

Reyos is accused in the 1981 murder of Father Patrick Ryan in Odessa.

"We filed the lawsuit because there's proof of James' actual innocence and as soon as we got proof of his innocence and when we knew we had some sort of pathway to litigation, that's when we filed the lawsuit," said Allison Clayton, Deputy Director of Innocence Project of Texas.

Most of the evidence from the case had been destroyed, but Clayton got a call from Odessa officials that there may be hope.

"Back in April of last year Greg Barber of the Ector County District Attorney's office reached out to me and let me know that they had found some fingerprint templets over at the Odessa Police Department, that they had run those and that they had gotten hits and they thought they had the actual identity of some people that were last on the scene that would maybe help proving Mr. Reyos' innocence," said Clayton.

The Innocence Project said they've worked close with the Odessa Police Department and the DA .

"I mean the District Attorney's Office they get it too and they understand that something's been wrong for the past 40 years in this case and it's time, it's time to make it right and that's what they're serious about doing and I can tell you it's one of the most admirable qualities," said Clayton. 

While it could take some time for a decision to be made, the Innocence Project is grateful for the help they've received so far in Reyos' case.

"They have been professional, they have been transparent, they've been helpful; I mean this is a prime example of everyone making sure justice is done," Clayton said.

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