Texas Tech University

Ed Ates Wants His Name Back

Texas Monthly

September 4, 2018

Texas Monthly - Ed Lewis Ates spent twenty years in a Texas prison because of two lies, one snatch of hearsay, and one piece of human feces on his shoe that, when all was said and done, was never actually proven to be human feces in the first place. Though the evidence was remarkably thin, prosecutors in Smith County—a conservative, law-and-order community ninety miles east of Dallas—brought Ates to trial twice. The first one, in 1996, ended in a hung jury. So they tried again two years later. This time they were successful, and Ates got 99 years in prison.

Ates, who is six foot six, bald, and 50 years old, is being paroled tomorrow morning and will walk out of the Walls Unit in Huntsville and into the arms of his wife, Kim, and his two grown children, Kyra and Zach. Kyra was two when her father was sent away; Zach was in utero. Also in attendance will be Ates's attorney, Allison Clayton, who works for the Innocence Project of Texas, and four of her law students from the Texas Tech Innocence Clinic, who all traveled from Lubbock. Finally, Ates will be greeted by a man named Bob Ruff, a burly, tattooed podcaster from tiny Bridgman, Michigan. Ruff's weekly podcast Truth & Justice has hundreds of thousands of listeners, and for the past two and a half years, he's devoted many of his shows to the prisoner's extraordinary story.

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