The Midwest Innocence Project filmed the release in Fordyce today of John Brown, who spent 26 years in prison for a muder a federal judge decided he did not commit.

Judge Billy Roy Wilson last month vacated the murder and rape convictions in the 1988 slaying of Myrtle Holmes, 78. of Fordyce. He gave the state 30 days to retry Brown or he should be released. The state appealed Wilson’s decision to the 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. The 8th Circuit denied a state request to stay Wilson’s order pending the appeal so Brown could remain jailed, but said it wouldn’t require to decide on a retrial yet. Dallas County Prosecutor John Thomas Shepard agreed to release Brown on bond in the interim.


Wilson found the case rife with unconstitutional acts and prosecutorial misconduct, including the withholding of DNA  evidence that would have been used in Brown’s defense.

The Innocence Project has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to help Brown as he waits for the appeal to be concluded. That page has a full recitation of the case. The appeal for help says:


John Brown was released on September 19, 2018 after serving 26 years for a crime he did not commit. Now, after having endured over two decades of unjust incarceration, he must begin anew as he awaits the decision of the appellate court regarding his case. Because his case is still pending appeal and because Arkansas does not provide compensation for the wrongfully convicted, he must rebegin his life with no resources or funds.