This website is designed to help free Joseph K. McGowen. There are many people out there 
who know the truth; that I am irrefutably innocent and that I was set up, railroaded, and 
persecuted by the Harris County District Attorney's Office and their suborned lying witnesses.
If anyone out there has any information, or can help us in any way, PLEASE 
contact us immediately at or 713-589-3156.

$100,000 REWARD

From:  Joseph K. McGowen 1090641
          Pack Unit, 2400 Wallace Pack Road
          Navasota, TX 77868

Re:  Help; Truth; Justice                                                    


This letter is being written in desperation as a plea for help for my innocent and suffering family and me.  We are out of options.  Please help us!

I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!!!! I have been unjustly and unlawfully indicted, charged, convicted, and imprisoned now for more than thirteen years.  I am a highly decorated, ten-year veteran Texas Peace Officer, including service with the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.  I have served as a patrolman and as an instructor, as well as duty with the Narcotics, Special Operations, and Organized Crime Divisions.  I am a United States military veteran, earning three Honorable Discharges:  United States Air Force; Texas Air National Guard; and the United States Air Force Reserves.  I served my God, Country, and Commander-in-Chief as Security Police, Security Police Instructor, and Combat Arms Instructor.  I am unjustly incarcerated for shooting and killing an armed felony suspect as my backup team and I were serving a felony warrant on said suspect.  This drugged-up, psychotic suspect attempted to ambush, shoot, and kill my backup team and me as we made forced entry in order to effect the arrest.  I did as I was ordered to do.  I did as I was trained to do.  I did what I was forced to do---by the suspect.  I did as I had to do in order to save the lives of my backup team and myself.

I have a very hard-fought and high-profile case.  Unfortunately, my case has garnered much spurious, negative nation-wide media attention.  My family and I have been tabloidishly victimized by: “48 Hours”; “A&E’s Investigative Reports”; “Court TV’s The System”; “Tru-TV”; “The Montel Williams Show”; “The Biography Channel”; “MSNBC’s Cold Case”; “Notorious”; “A Current Affair”; “Stuff Magazine”; a “true crime” novel titled “A Warrant to Kill”;  and countless other television and print media exposures.  All of this false, negative media attention is nothing but an assortment of hurtful and malicious, biased lies; lies which have caused my loving, good, and decent family and me a tremendous, unbearable amount of humiliation, loss, and anguish.  Calamitously, all of this tabloid-trash has affected legal decisions made regarding my case, appeals, parole, and me.

The shooting occurred on August 25, 1992.  I was “cleared” by Internal Affairs, the Homicide Division, etc.  However, I was indicted on October 31, 1992.  I was tried in February, 1994.  I was unjustly found guilty of murder and sentenced to fifteen years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  The judge stated that he knew I was innocent and allowed me to remain free on a $10,000 appellate bond.  I hired G. “Mac” Secrest of Houston as my appellate attorney.  Over an eight-year period, Secrest won four out of four appeals, earning for me a new trial.  For my second trial I hired Dan Cogdell of Houston as my new defense attorney.  My second trial occurred in March of 2002.  I was again unjustly convicted of murder by the same Assistant District Attorney and sentenced to twenty years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  I hired for this round of direct appeals Jack Zimmermann and Teri Lavine of Houston.  The First Court of  Appeals denied relief. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied our Petition for Discretionary Review. I then hired Randy Schaffer of Houston as my writ attorney.  Our State Writ of Habeous Corpus was denied after the new District Judge took over three years to NOT even respond to our writ. This judge even defied an order by the Court of Criminal Appeals to have an evidentiary hearing and to issue her own Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.  We then proceeded to the Federal District Court in Houston.  We were again denied relief.  In January of 2009, I received word that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied our Certificate of Appealability.  We are out of formal options.  We now come to you for help.

It would take reams of paper to put in writing all that has occurred to my family and me over the past twenty-three years at the hands of the news media and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.  I served our “system” for ten years.  My older brother has served with the Austin Police Department for nearly thirty years.  I have a cousin who has served with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for twenty years.  We are good and decent people, giving our lives to help, serve, and protect our fellow citizens, and we desperately need your help.

Note of import:  In 2004, I voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination concerning the self-defense, line of duty shooting incident which led to my unjust incarceration.  This polygraph examination was administered by 27-year veteran Federal Agent John Swartz.  Swartz was the top polygraphist with his agency.  In fact, Swartz was chief polygraph instructor for several State and Federal agencies.  Swartz is internationally  known for his polygraph skills, expertise, and ethics.  I was issued two polygraph examinations by Swartz.  Each of these independent examinations was administered to me twice; four examinations in total.  I unequivocally passed all four examinations.  The series of questions asked and my truthful answers categorically affirm and confirm that I am irrefutably innocent, and that the Assistant District Attorneys have been far less than virtuous.

Of further note:  On December 5, 2007, I again voluntarily submitted to another series of polygraph examinations. These examinations were administered to me by the FBI/OIG Joint Task Force.  During the course of this polygraph examination, several pertinent questions were asked and answered concerning my truthfulness which reflect upon my shooting case.  The questions were: 1) “Have you ever falsified any government document?” Answer: No; 2) “Have you ever lied while testifying in court?” Answer: No; 3) “Have you ever lied to anyone who trusted you?” Answer: No; 4) “Have you ever lied to an employer?” Answer: No.  I, of course, passed this examination, which was repeated twice more.  Prior to the examination, I discussed with the Investigator/Polygraphist my shooting case, ascertaining how these questions would reflect upon my integrity and probity pertaining to the false accusations levied against me by the prosecuting Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) which caused the jury to find me guilty.  The ADAs contended that I lied to my supervisor and the Intake Assistant District Attorney to secure the felony warrant (see #3 and #4); that I lied on the probable cause statement (see #1); that I lied before the Grand Jury and the trial jury (see #2); and that I lied to the detectives and other investigators (my friends and Brother Officers) involved (see #3).  As is the procedure, I was given prior knowledge of these questions before the examination. Knowing these questions would be asked, thereby giving me the opportunity to prove the ADAs wrong and that I had been completely truthful and forthright throughout this entire situation, I gladly submitted to the examination.  The results, all questions being answered truthfully, speak for themselves and refute the ADAs’ contention that I had lied.

My family and I are in possession of these polygraph examinations and results.  They are immediately available for your perusal to assist you in your decision as whether to help us or not.  Furthermore, I am more than willing to submit to any other polygraph examination, asking any questions, administered by any polygraphist of your choosing, in order to prove to you my innocence and the validity of the allegations and facts I have proffered.

Naturally, upon receiving this letter you will “Google” me.  PLEASE do not allow all the negative tabloid-trash, rumors, innuendos, etc. to affect your decision to help us. My family is in possession of all my files and records from my previous attorneys.  I am begging you, please come and meet with me and allow me to tell you the horrid story about how we have been unjustly and unlawfully treated and of my innocence.  I assure you, what you will observe and learn will upset, anger, disgust, and appal you, as well as break your heart.  After, or even before, you meet with me, I can have my family deliver to you my files.

At our meeting, I will explain to you about how the Assistant District Attorneys unlawfully and maliciously suppressed (hid) a witness--whom my attorneys uncovered 13 and one-half years after the fact--who unequivocally exonerates me (if this witness had been brought before the Grand Jury and the trial juries, I would  never have been indicted, let alone twice convicted [I am in possession of two affidavits from this withheld witness which undeniably exonerate me and prove that the Assistant District Attorneys knew from the second day after the shooting that I was/am innocent, yet they still chose to destroy my family and prosecute and imprison me]); how one of these Assistant District Attorneys tried to sleep with my wife, stalked my young children and other family members, tampered with and threatened witnesses, knowingly suborned aggravated perjury by placing on the stand witnesses who he knew were lying (in one instance, this Assistant District Attorney even admitted to the court that he knew his key witness was lying on the stand, only this confession was not made in the presence of the jury), etc.  A number of witnesses have come forward who irrefutably exonerate me and prove that the infamous Harris County District Attorney’s Office unjustly and unlawfully indicted, charged, convicted, then imprisoned me.  For example: Several months after my first disastrous trial, in the restroom of a restaurant in Houston, I was accosted by a highly inebriated former Harris County Assistant District Attorney.  From the time immediately after my indictment until just before my first trial, this intoxicated Assistant District Attorney served as the Chief of the Civil Rights Division; the division that indicted, charged, convicted, and imprisoned me.  This Chief Assistant District Attorney has intimate knowledge of the unlawful and unethical practices utilized by the Assistant District Attorneys in the Civil Rights Division who prosecuted me. In the restaurant restroom, this ex-Assistant District Attorney approached me and asked if I were “McGowen.”  I answered in the affirmative.  He then drunkenly poked me in the chest several times stating thus:  “You need to get your attorneys to look into what was going on in the Civil Rights Division while I was Chief there.  That is why you were wrongly indicted and unjustly convicted.”  Wanting to take advantage of this situation and this ex-Assistant District Attorney’s drunken stupor and loose lips, I asked him what exactly did he mean.  He then stated,  “Just get your lawyers to look into it.  I am in private practice now.  It would not be ethical for me to say anymore.  Besides, I still have to practice law in Harris County.”  I reported this highly enlightening incident to attorney Cogdell.  Cogdell called this ex-Assistant District Attorney to discuss this information.  He stated to Cogdell, “Yeah, it is true.  I was drunk and stupid.  I should not have said anything to McGowen.”  When Cogdell asked if he would come forward with the truth and help us, he firmly stated, “I am not going to help you.  I still have to practice law in Harris County.”  This ex-Assistant District Attorney made this comment about still having to practice law in Harris County in order to express his concern that if he should come forward with the truth, the notoriously corrupt Harris County District Attorney’s Office would ruin his law career.  Cogdell applied no further pressure for this ex-Assistant District Attorney to come forward with the truth and help us.  With your help and legal expertise, I believe this ex-Assistant District Attorney will do the right thing and tell us the truth.  His information will not only exonerate and free me, his testimony will prove that the prosecuting Assistant District Attorneys unlawfully, intentionally, maliciously, and unjustly indicted, charged, convicted, and imprisoned me.  This ex-Assistant District Attorney has now been in private practice in Houston for several years.  There are other witnesses, including the State’s witnesses, who will prove the same--my indubitable innocence.

To this day, my bewildered and devastated family and I have no idea why this Assistant District Attorney--who indicted, charged, twice prosecuted, and imprisoned me--has taken it upon himself to destroy and shatter my family and me, all the while having full and confessed knowledge that I am indisputably innocent. He has annihilated my family and me to the point of utter and unrecoverable destruction.  This Assistant District Attorney has used and exploited the media in order to disseminate his lies, further his own self-advancement and aggrandizement, and to turn the masses and public opinion against my family and me.  Since he had no evidence against me--because I am innocent--he resorted to character assassination, illusory correlation, and evidentiary harpoons to convict an innocent Peace Officer who was simply doing his sworn, lawful, moral, and ethical duty to protect his confidential informant, Brother Officers, and himself.  This Assistant District Attorney clearly and evidently has some sick, psychopathic obsession with my family and me. Why? We neither know nor understand. 

This terrible and tragic miscarriage of justice MUST be righted.  This nightmare must come to an end.  Once you meet with me, you will wholeheartedly agree.

I ask not this for me, but I ask that you help my innocent and suffering family.  This tragedy has nearly literally killed my dear dad, causing strokes and a major heart attack.  My precious mom recently died from a fatal brain disease, Corticobasal Degeneration.  I have a young daughter suffering from cancer, seizures, and cardio-pulmonary ailments.  I have two young grandsons whom I have never been allowed to hold.  I want my elderly and ailing parent to see me freed and exonerated and our once good and honored name restored before he passes on.  I do not want my children and grandchildren to grow up with the undeserved and devastating stigma of being the seed of a “psychotic murdering rogue Cop-gone-bad.”  I need to go home to my family.  Please help us!

Again, all I ask is but for one meeting with you.  After you meet with me, I am most confident you will help us.

Due to the malicious tabloid-trash’s lies, libel, and slander, my suffering family and I have found it impossible to earn, beg, borrow, or raise any more money.  These past twenty-three years of endless and constant legal battles have rendered us basically destitute. That said, there is recent Texas legislation that allows financial compensation for innocent Texans who have been unjustly imprisoned.  The State of Texas now compensates the wrongly imprisoned with $80,000 per year of unjust imprisonment (which in my case is currently valued at more than $1,040,000), plus $50,000 per year until the death of the wrongly imprisoned person.  If you will help us, I will contract with you to receive all of these compensatory moneys. There are other financial opportunities at hand via lawsuits and book/screenplay/movie/documentary offers I have received.  If you will help us, all of these funds will go to you.  My family desperately needs me.  I desperately need my family.  I just want to go home.  PLEASE HELP US!

Due to the proclivity of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to unlawfully intercept, seize, open, read, and withhold protected “legal” and “media” mail, please respond to this letter by contacting: Bill McGowen at 713-589-3156 or

I look forward to hearing from or meeting with you in the very near future.


With respect, sincerity, trust, and gratitude,

Joseph K. McGowen

P. S.  There are many people out there who know the truth; that I am irrefutably innocent and that I was set up, railroaded, and persecuted by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and their suborned lying witnesses.  If anyone out there has any information, or can help us in any way PLEASE contact us immediately!