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The Dallas Morning News

Prosecutors want to re-imprison man awaiting new murder trial

November 18, 2008

A judge heard arguments Tuesday over whether to revoke the bond of Clay Chabot, who until Monday had been out of jail for the past year waiting to learn if he’ll be granted a new trial for the 1986 murder of Galua Crosby. Mr. Chabot was arrested after prosecutors alleged that he had violated terms of his release. At a bond revocation hearing, Dallas County First Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore told the court that Mr. Chabot, 49, has been leaving his home for purposes other than visiting a hospital — the only reason he can leave his Cedar Hill house while out on bond. Prosecutors also say that a sexual relationship between Mr. Chabot and his sister-in-law’s daughter may violate terms of his release. Under a court ruling, the woman is one of Mr. Chabot’s live-in chaperones. Ms. Moore said she doesn’t believe the court intended for Mr. Chabot to be permitted a live-in girlfriend, wife or spouse while out on bond.

Criminal District Court Judge Mike Snipes did not make a decision at Tuesday’s hearing about whether to keep Mr. Chabot in jail until the issue of whether he deserves a new trial is settled. Judge Snipes is allowing Mr. Chabot’s attorney, Bruce Anton, time to respond to what the judge called “extraordinarily compelling” allegations. Photographs posted on Mr. Chabot’s MySpace page show him and the woman kissing and participating in a wedding ceremony, according to court records. The woman, who is 37, has changed her last name to Chabot, Ms. Moore said. No marriage license could be found. “We give him an inch, he takes a mile,” Ms. Moore said.

Mr. Chabot was convicted for the murder of Ms. Crosby based on the false testimony of his brother-in-law. DNA tests linked that man, Gerald Pabst, to Ms. Crosby’s rape. Mr. Pabst was convicted of murder in September. If the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants Mr. Chabot a new trial, Dallas County prosecutors have said they will re-try Mr. Chabot because they believe both men committed the crime.

Mr. Chabot has been under house arrest since being released in November 2007, except for trips to the Dallas VA Medical Center for medical treatment. But Ms. Moore said Mr. Chabot has been making an occasional stop at a cell phone store near the hospital.

“He was slick, Judge,” she said. “He found a Metro PCS near the hospital,” Ms. Moore said, adding that in doing so the monitoring device didn’t show him deviating from his approved travel plans. When Mr. Chabot was arrested Monday, he asked the investigator to let him get some money and pulled out $5,000. Mike Ware, who heads the conviction integrity unit at the DA’s office, questions what plans Mr. Chabot had for that money and where he got it, since he is unemployed. Carolyn Campbell Gill, Mr. Chabot’s sister who moved to Texas to live with him while he is free on bond, said that prosecutors have it out for her brother. He has not done anything to violate the rules of his release, she said. “He is innocent,” said Ms. Gill, who sat outside the courtroom during the hearing. “I’m the one who drives him everywhere.” As for his relationship with his sister-in-law’s daughter, Ms. Gill said that doesn’t mean he should go back to prison. She said, “He may have fallen in love, but he didn’t do anything wrong.”