Ex-Death Row Inmate Sets Up Scholarship on Behalf of His Houston Lawyer

People are amazing creatures. Yes, they're capable of despicable, horrifying acts. If you want an example of that which is rotten about humanity, you can always find it. But then there are the things that make humanity a thing to be proud of. Hair Balls is talking about Anthony Graves.

Graves spent 18 years in prison -- 12 of them on Death Row -- for murder before he was exonerated of the crime in 2010. Graves was originally convicted of the brutal murder of a Burleson County family in 1982. Graves was set for a retrial in 2010 when the Burleson County district attorney's office reinvestigated and dropped all charges, according to the story by Texas Monthly's Pamela Colloff.

Graves got $1.45 million in a settlement, and you'd think that would be the end of the story for him, but instead it's where the story turns beautiful.

Graves bought a white BMW convertible, helped his mom and set up a fund to help at-risk kids whose parents have been incarcerated, but was otherwise conservative about spending the money. However, he wanted to do something for Nicole Cásarez, the Houston lawyer and journalism professor who spent eight years working to free him, according to Texas Monthly. He knew she wouldn't accept money from him directly, so Graves went around her, plotting with her husband, Rueben, to give her "something that would live on."

They all gathered at Khyber, an Indian restaurant on the west side of town. Cásarez was told it was a goodbye party for Graves, who plans to move to New York, but he stepped up once everyone was there and announced the celebration was really for her, according to Texas Monthly.

Graves established a scholarship through the University of Texas Law School Foundation. The certificate read that the scholarship was set up in her name, "to honor his defender, friend, sister, and angel, to recognize her and her students' work to exonerate him from a wrongful conviction, and to encourage others to follow her example of hope, perseverance, courage, and humility. Never underestimate the power of dedicated people working for good."


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