That's the title of Jordan Smith's lengthy examination of the Preston Hughes case in this week's Austin Chronicle. It's subtitled, "Preston Hughes is scheduled to be executed this month. Is he innocent of murder, as his defenders claim? Or did police frame a guilty man?"
Here's the beginning:
The police were not looking for LaShandra Charles and her cousin Marcell Taylor, but that's who they found.
It was around 11pm on Sept. 26, 1988, when a man flagged down two police officers near a Fuddruckers restaurant in far West Houston. The man was looking for his wife, whom he believed to be missing. As the trio searched the area, a Fuddruckers employee approached the officers to say that while walking home to a nearby apartment complex, he'd found a body in the woods behind the restaurant.
The cops walked to a large, overgrown field of tall trees dissected by a network of weed-choked trails. The restaurant parking lot was well-lit, but the field was not. The night was clear, and the officers used the moonlight to find their way along the trash-littered trail toward a fence at the far end of the property. There, police found a body – but not that of the person they'd been flagged down to find.