The first person in the United States to be exonerated posthumously on the basis of DNA evidence received a lasting tribute in his home state of Texas this week.
State officials and the family of the late Tim Cole unveiled the first Texas historical marker dedicated to an exonerated convict, located in a Fort Worth cemetery a few feet from the grave where Cole was buried in 1999.
Governor Rick Perry issued Texas' first posthumous pardon to Cole in 2010, over a decade after he died from complications from an asthma attack while serving time in prison for a rape he did not commit.
"We finally have something visual that people can see to remember Tim," Cory Session, Cole's brother, told Reuters. "We are very pleased and grateful that Tim's life and legacy will not be forgotten."
Post-conviction DNA testing has exonerated nearly 290 people in the United States since 1989, including 17 death row inmates, according the Innocence Project, which works to reverse wrongful convictions. It says that witness misidentification was a factor in nearly 75 percent of cases.
Of the DNA exonerations nationwide, over 40 have been in Texas, more than in any other U.S. state.
The Texas marker tells the story of how Cole was convicted in 1986 of raping a fellow student at Texas Tech University and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. An Army veteran, Cole served more than 13 years in prison, steadfastly insisting he did not commit the crime.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Historical marker commemorates Tim Cole false conviction
Reuters has the story of the new historical marker near Timothy Cole's grave site commemorating his false conviction, his death in prison, and his posthumous exoneration via DNA evidence. The article opens: