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Time to Spread Holiday Cheer

Remember Shane Absalon?

He is the guy who was coerced to admit to a crime while in Straight, Inc., and after other Straightlings came forward to “report” him 25 years later, and he ended up in jail for a murder he didn’t commit.

Photo by Lori Rutherford This is Shane & Ryley, his daughter, in 2009, about 9 months before his arrest.
(Photo by Lori Rutherford.) This is Shane and Ryley, his daughter, in 2009, about 9 months before his arrest.

If you are in the Christmas spirit and you would like to send Straight, Inc. Survivor Shane Absalon, a Christmas Greeting to help make his holiday in prison a little better, just write out an extra Holiday greeting card and send via snail mail along with the rest of the people on your list, or you can email him a greeting through the following link

Shane’s mother-in-law made the following post on Facebook:

As you send out your Christmas greetings I ask those who choose to share a little joy with Shane.

You can send a Christmas Card to Ryland Shane Absalon, 1812762. 810 FM 2821, Huntsville, Texas 77349

John Perez is Shane’s friend in prison and he would also appreciate any thoughtfulness you would like to provide.

John Richard Perez, 1690592 same address as Shane.

This was taken a couple of months ago.
(Photo by Lori Rutherford) This picture was taken a couple of months ago.
This is the latest photo showing Shane's daughter Ryley's style.
(Photo by Lori Rutherford) This is the latest photo showing Shane’s daughter Ryley’s style.

More information about Shane Absalon’s court case

Shane Absalon was court ordered to Straight, Inc. as a condition of probation for a charge of criminal mischief in July of 1986. During his time at Straight, Shane was coerced by staff to admit to committing a murder in 1984. In 2009, after seeing a news report, Shane’s former oldcomer and others who sat in Straight with Shane, decided to come forward to confirm that they heard him confess in a group session.

There were very few clients in Straight who weren’t coerced to confess to things they didn’t do, so that it would look like they were “getting honest,” admitting to all the supposed awful things they did before the program, in hopes of someday getting out of that program.

When I was first contacted, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get involved with Shane’s case because I would never want to release a person from prison if he were guilty of murder.

Much of Shane’s arrest was based on his time at Straight, Inc.

Upon further inquiry, I found that much of Shane’s arrest was based on his time at Straight, Inc. in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1986. While in Straight, the police came to question Shane about the murder of his friend, and they left as he was eliminated as a suspect. However, after noticing the visit by the police, staff coerced Shane to confess to a murder which many people do not believe he committed, as the evidence points to another man (now dead). The State’s case relied heavily on these admissions which occurred during ‘big group rap sessions’ – and several witnesses were called to testify who had heard these alleged statements at Straight assemblies.

A woman who was the colleague-in-crime of the burglar we suspect as the real killer initially testified that Horace Preston Cox went into the victim’s apartment, then emerged and said he had encountered the occupant in the shower and had “messed her up.” She later retracted. Cox identified Hayden’s apartment as the one he had burglarized to police. He also had said that if he ever encountered an occupant, he would kill that occupant. He died in 1990. None of this was presented to the jury.

Here is another article dated Jan. 26, 1985 (An accused child molester questioned in a series of rapes and slayings that have left nine young women dead.) mentioned that authorities were looking at another man named Remsen Newbold Wolff, 44 of Fort Worth, Texas, in connection with Ginger Hayden’s murder.

No one in the world can guarantee that Shane is innocent. But his mother-in-law and an attorney, who is working on his own time to help Shane get an appeal, and several others that know Shane well, believe that he is likely innocent. This crime simply does not comport with his nature.

Remember how ‘the more outlandish the “confession,”‘ the more brownie points one received? Shane believed the rule about confidentiality that Straight drilled into our heads, so he figured confessing would take the group pressure off of him, and no harm would be done due to confidentiality. Texas law managed to bypass the whole confidentiality law with a ridiculous distinction – those who went in by court order had no confidentiality, while those who were voluntarily participating were guaranteed confidentiality. Even though Shane had chosen Straight as an alternative to doing some time in juvenile detention for the ‘criminal mischief’ (which I believe was vandalizing a car), he was still considered court-ordered rather than voluntarily participating by Texas law. Straight guaranteed everyone would speak in confidence, but the Courts who sent people there did not honor Straight’s promise.

The evidence from Straight was highly doubtful.

The DNA evidence was highly flawed and speculative. The defense did not have it thoroughly analyzed or reported on by a DNA expert. Though they supposedly consulted one informally. Also flawed was other forensic “evidence.” A Straight staff member and graduate testified against Shane, and I believe that was in exchange for leniency in an uncharged matter (so it’s not of record since I believe the agreement was not to formally charge him.) Several others who heard Shane’s big-group rap confession merely confirmed what he said. On cross-examination, those very witnesses spoke of being coerced into confessing to false acts as well.

There is a lot more information regarding this case that is online and public knowledge. After everything I’ve read, I would like to see Shane free and able to be with his little daughter, being her father full-time instead of only on visitation days.

This could have been you

This could be any one of us reading this. Our justice system often works best for those who are wealthy (look at OJ Simpson). We’ve all heard about the dozens of people (maybe more, I’m not familiar with the exact statistics) who have done a lot of time in prison just to be exonerated in the end with no way to reclaim that time which is forever gone.

Remember being in Straight and not having any outside contact with the real world? No phone calls, no letters, absolutely no contact with anyone outside of the Straight, Inc. walls? Well at least in prison, they are allowed to receive letters and apparently emails now too. Let’s try to make Shane’s holidays a little more bearable by sending him some holiday greetings. My cards to him and his friend are already in the mail.

Happy Holidays!




Published inStraight Inc

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