Hearing in Austin could lead to DNA exoneration

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - The family of a convicted rapist returns to a Lubbock courtroom this week to ask a judge to overturn his conviction.

But Tim Cole won't be there with them. He died in prison in 1999 at age 38, but the family has fought on to clear his name.

Cole and his relatives for years claimed he was innocent of the rape of a Texas Tech student in 1985. But until DNA from the crime scene was tested last year, no one else believed them.

That test showed another man, already imprisoned for rape, committed the crime for which Cole was sentenced to 25 years.

His family will ask an Austin judge on Thursday to overturn the conviction.

It would be the first posthumous DNA exoneration in Texas, according to attorney Jeff Blackburn of the Innocence Project. It would pave the way for a pardon by the governor and, eventually, expunging Cole's record.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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