Teen wrongly accused, sent to jail for crime he didn't commit

A Harris County Sheriff’s deputy is at the center of an Internal Affairs investigation accused of putting an innocent man in jail. 

"They (deputies) were like we have him, into their (radio attached to their shirts). Then they put their guns on me," explains 19-year-old Bryce Peterson.

Being arrested at gunpoint by Harris County deputies near his Katy home was just the beginning for the teenager. 

"Imagine being somewhere you don’t want to be without a clue what’s going to happen next. Then just sitting there. Literally sitting there," he explains.

Peterson, a college student who was working two jobs, was thrown in the Harris County Jail in March 2019, accused of stabbing and robbing two people at a motel on the North Freeway.

"It was just horrific. Everything that I was going through, the anxiety the fear as a mother. I didn't know if he was being hurt in jail. I didn’t know if he was eating," says Peterson’s mom Ashley Ramirez. 

So she hired attorney David Kiatta to review the case.

"It is some of the worst police work I've ever seen in 30 years of criminal law," says Kiatta.

Kiatta says cell phone and home alarm records prove Peterson was at home and had nothing to do with it.  Also, surveillance video from the motel shows the man who is believed to have committed the crimes. That man hasn’t been arrested or charged.

"He does not look at all like Bryce Peterson," says Kiatta.

"He looks very light skinned, almost Hispanic. He’s not built like me," says Peterson.

"The detective had to either have ignored it totally and not looked at it (the video) or looked at it and said ‘I don't care. I just want to close this case’. This shouldn’t have happened," adds Kiatta.

Nearly three months after Peterson was put in jail, the District Attorney's Office received the video. 

“The sheriff's detective did not submit the video to the prosecutor. The prosecutor dismissed the case against Bryce on the same day he received the video because it was so blatantly apparent that Bryce did not commit this crime,” says Kiatta. 

While he was locked up, Peterson was dropped from his classes and fired from his jobs.

“I really feel like he didn't have to experience this had Officer Freeman done his job,” says Ramirez. 

The family has filed a complaint against investigating Deputy J. Freeman with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

“I do want this officer fired. I don't feel like he should be a peace officer any longer,” adds Ramirez. 

The Sheriff's office declined to take part in this report, but confirms the internal investigation into deputy Freeman and says the case is still open.

“I just hope this never happens to anybody else,” says Peterson.