JaTryone Hollis, 20, was acquitted of capital murder and expressed his emotions on hearing the decision for the first time.
On March 7, Hollis was found not guilty on all of his charges by a Dallas County jury. His defense team called the investigation of the case by the Mesquite Police and the work of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office into question.
“The moment I heard the verdict I couldn’t even celebrate, it was so overwhelming,” Hollis told KXAS-TV. “I’m happy to be out but I just can’t enjoy it the way I’m supposed to enjoy it.”
Hollis was represented by Ashkan Mehryari, Justin Moore and George Milner who highlighted issues in an alleged taped confession from the Mesquite police. The detectives were said to already know who committed the crime and just needed a confession.
Hollis was arrested when he was 17 and charged with the murder of another 17-year-old Isaiah Jones in October 2017. He would spend three years in jail until he was acquitted for the crime this week.
“They say you are innocent until proven guilty, well from my understanding and my being in those shoes I was guilty until proven innocent,” Hollis said.
His attorneys admit Hollis was present at the scene for a gun deal but was not the shooter. Surveillance footage from the scene supports his attorney’s statements.
Hollis, who was facing the death penalty, was awarded a GED and college education paid by an anonymous donor, WFAA reports.
“There is someone who is anonymous. They don’t want you to know who it is but they want to pay for your GED and college,” Mehryari said to Hollis.
Mesquite police are not commenting on the verdict, however, District Attorney John Creuzot said in a statement the indictment was carried out by the previous administration.
“I did not take office until January 2019. His case was handled by the previous administration,” Creuzot wrote.
“Saturday morning when I learned from George Milner, one of Mr. Hollis’ attorneys, that he was still in jail, I immediately contacted Sheriff Marian Brown. Sheriff Brown contacted Judge Holmes and Mr. Hollis was released later Saturday afternoon,” Creuzot added.