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Two words rob wrongly convicted man of $1.5M

Anthony Graves
CBS

Saturday night CBS' "48 Hours Mystery" brings us "Grave Injustice," the true story of Anthony Graves, who spent 18 years behind bars for a mass murder he didn't commit.

But the State of Texas refuses to compensate him for time served. The only thing standing between Graves and $1.5 million are two words missing from his prison release paperwork: "actual innocence."

"Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge noted Graves is owed $1.5 million, $80,000 for every year he was incarcerated, but because those two words don't appear on the paperwork, he can't get his money.

Watch a sneak peek of "48 Hours Mystery" "Grave Injustice."

For an introduction to this story, professor Nicole Casarez, of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, discussed the case on "The Early Show" Friday. She, along with her journalism class at the university, was instrumental in helping overturn Graves' conviction.

Casarez said "a number of things" told her that Graves had nothing to do with this crime.

She said, "The state evidence that supposedly convicted him really didn't stand up. Once we took a look at it, the quote/unquote evidence that convicted him, was just really nothing. There was no case. But then, on top of that, Anthony had alibi witnesses to show where he was at the time of the crime. So I would say probably he was with his girlfriend that night, and she swore that she was with him all night, that he never left. And I guess, you know, she told me years later, 'Why would I lie for a baby killer? I'm married. I have children of my own. And why would I continue to lie these many years later for someone who killed children?'"

But overturning the conviction was not easy.

Casarez said it was "practically impossible."

She recalled, "Over the years - I worked on the case for about eight years - and there were different district attorneys. There were representatives from the Attorney General's Office, and really, they didn't want to give us the time of day. It wasn't until the latest elected D.A. in the county hired a special prosecutor, a woman by the name of Kelly Siegler, and she basically did what we did. And that was to really re-investigate the case and look at it with objective eyes. And then she came to the same conclusion we did."

For the full story, you can watch "Grave Injustice" on CBS' "48 Hours Mystery" Saturday night at 10/9c.