Witness in Lydell Grant murder case now says he was never sure Grant was the killer
Andrew Vu, a bouncer a Blur Bar, said in a statement to prosecutors that he picked Grant out of a photo lineup despite having reservations he committed the crime.
By Matt Keyser
Feb. 5, 2021
A witness whose testimony helped convict a man for murder over a decade ago is now telling prosecutors he was never sure about the identity of the killer.
Andrew Vu, a bouncer at Blur Bar in Houston, was one of six witnesses who testified against Lydell Grant, telling jurors Grant was the man who stabbed Aaron Scheerhoorn to death in the bar parking lot before midnight Dec. 10, 2010.
Now Vu, in a statement to prosecutors, said he picked Grant out of a photo lineup “even though I did not feel he was the guy.”
Grant was sentenced to life in prison based largely on witness testimony, despite there being no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
In 2019, with the help of the Innocence Project of Texas, a re-analysis of the DNA found under Scheerhoorn’s fingernails excluded Grant as the killer and ultimately matched that of another man.
Grant has been out on bond since December 2019 as he and the Innocence Project of Texas continue fighting for his exoneration.
Vu said he told detectives he didn’t see the killer when they first presented a photo lineup to him. However, he said, detectives told him to look again because the killer “was in there and three other people had already picked him.”
“I talked to my coworkers afterward and they were all sure Mr. Grant as the person, so I agreed,” Vu wrote in his statement to prosecutors. “Because my co-workers believed it was Mr. Grant, I thought I was the one making a mistake.”
The Houston Police Department, with the help of the Harris County District Attorney’s conviction integrity unit, reinvestigated Scheerhoorn’s murder in 2019. The DA’s office has now charged Jermarico Carter with killing Scheerhoorn. In an interview with HPD detectives in December 2019, Carter confessed to the murder, according to court records.
As a result, the police department, district attorney, and the judge of the trial court in which Grant was convicted all agree that Grant is innocent.
Grant’s case was sent to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, in January 2020 to rule on his actual innocence claims. Despite the overwhelming evidence, the court has balked at issuing a ruling.
After reviewing the evidence against him and Carter’s confession tape, the appeals court asked that the six original witnesses provide affidavits about Grant’s innocence claims.
The district attorney’s office was only able to get Vu’s statement, according to prosecutor Joshua Reiss.
The trial court will hold a hearing Monday morning to sign off on sending the case back to the court of criminal appeals.
Meanwhile, I wrote extensively about Grant’s case and the factors that led to his wrongful conviction. You can read my full investigation: The police, district attorney, and judge all agree he’s innocent. Why is Lydell Grant still a convicted murderer?