LIVINGSTON, TX - A prisoner on Texas' death row was released today after prison officials failed to produce enough documentation to keep him behind bars. The prisoner, known as 'Old Joe', is thought to have been on death row since the 1950's, although no records of his trial, conviction or appeals could be found in prison archives.
"He's been here as long as anyone can remember." said Milton Jenkins, assistant warden of the prison. "Then a couple of weeks ago he asked the administration department why he was here, and nobody knew. That started the record search that came up empty."
'Old Joe' claims he can't remember his real name or why he was sent to death row. "They've been calling me 'Old Joe' for as long as I can remember. I just got used to it." he said. "I'm sure I'm innocent of whatever they sent me here for. I'm just a harmless old man."
Prison officials can confirm that Joe has not had any visitors or court appearances since 1971, when records were converted to microfiche. "It's possible he exhausted all his appeals prior to '71, but we don't have any record of ever receiving an execution order either." said Jenkins. "He may have gotten a pardon for all we know."
When asked about his plans for his newly acquired freedom, Joe replied: "I'm headed back to Houston to take care of some unfinished business. Then I'm moving to Canada."