December 20, 2019
Through the joint efforts of the Houston Police Department, the Innocence Project of Texas, and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Division, new evidence has led to the apprehension and charging of a new suspect in the 2010 murder of Aaron Scheerhoorn. Jermarico Carter is currently in custody in Georgia following an extensive re-investigation of the crime by HPD detectives. DA Kim Ogg says that Carter is now being charged with Scheerhoorn’s murder; he was stabbed to death outside a Montrose neighborhood bar in 2010 and Lydell Grant was convicted of his murder in 2012. Ogg says the new charges against Carter will lead to exoneration of Grant.
The Innocence Project of Texas approached the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in 2018 to re-test DNA found under the victim’s fingernails during the autopsy. They were seeking to exonerate their client, Lydell Grant. Ogg gives credit to Gerald Doyle, Chief of the Conviction Integrity Division, and his team, for working to ensure that justice was done. “Doyle believes everyone should enjoy the full protection of due process; that’s why he is the lead prosecutor over a prosecutorial division dedicated to insuring the integrity of past convictions.”
The new DNA testing did, in fact, eliminate Lydell Grant as a donor. What’s more, a CODIS match was obtained on the evidence and the match pointed to a second, new suspect, identified now as Jermarico Carter. HPD detectives learned he was an individual who had been in Houston and in the vicinity of the murder when Scheerhoorn was stabbed to death in front of a Montrose neighborhood establishment. With the help of law enforcement agencies in Georgia, HPD has been searching for the new suspect for months, ultimately locating him and taking him into custody yesterday.
“The highest responsibility of a prosecutor is to see that justice is done and insuring that we have the correct individual charged is a baseline responsibility,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. “To accomplish that in this case, the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office worked together diligently to identify, track down, arrest and obtain a statement from Carter, who finally admitted to killing Aaron Scheerhoorn. We look forward to presenting this new evidence in court and obtaining justice for Scheerhoorn’s family. We will begin the exoneration process for Lydell Grant immediately.”
Mike Ware, Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Texas and lead counsel for Lydell Grant said, “We are relieved that Lydell’s wrongful conviction has had this important breakthrough. We look forward to his full exoneration at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.”