Ector County DA office exonerates James Reyos after being charged with the murder in 1981

James Reyos exonerated
Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 4:22 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - In February we told you about the story of James Reyos, who was accused of murdering Father Patrick Ryan, and how after 42 years of being thought of as guilty, Reyos was on the verge of his name being freed once and for all. October 4th, 2023 marks the day that Reyos has been dreaming of as his name has been cleared of charges.

Reyo’s attorney Allison Clayton has been by his side for the last seven months of this case and when told him the good news she was filled with emotions.

“When you hold someone’s hand, and you look across the table from this hurt human being and you see what’s happened to them and you say I’m going to do everything I can to make it better and then it happens. You know you get a favorable ruling that kind of high is what life is about” said Allison Clayton, Innocence Project of Texas

For James Reyos his high came this morning at 9 am after he was told his name was exonerated from the case of Father Patrick Ryan.

“As soon as I heard his voice I started crying and I said to James ‘we’ve got great news for you, my friend’, and then James, I think he knew and he started crying too and he was like did we get a ruling and I said ‘we got one’. " you’ve been exonerated”. Said Clayton

Reyos was convicted in 1983 for the Murder of Father Patrick Ryan and was sentenced to 38 years in prison. The court’s decision to exonerate Mr. Reyos was based on recently discovered fingerprint evidence that identified the real perpetrators and the overwhelming evidence that he was in New Mexico at the time of the murder.

“He proved through witnesses, receipts, and actual police documents that he was not in Texas at the time of the murder. It just took 40-plus years to finally get the court to hear it” said Clayton

Despite it taking 40 years, James is just happy to be freed and wants this to be motivation for other wrongfully convicted people in jail.

“I am so grateful to the Innocence Project of Texas for this day. I want this to serve as hope to the people of Texas that justice can prevail, “Reyos’ father passed while he was in prison and also shared “My father told me to never give up and I never did.”

Clayton would also go on to say that she is thankful for the work OPD and the Ector County DA office have done in making this a swift exoneration for James Reyos.