Dead Inmate Formally Exonerated

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A Texas judge has formally exonerated an inmate who died in prison while serving time for a rape he did not commit.

District Judge Charles Baird issued an order Tuesday exonerating Timothy Cole. The judge said mistaken eyewitness identification, questionable suspect lineups and a faulty investigation by Lubbock police led to the wrongful conviction.

Cole is the first person to be posthumously exonerated after DNA testing showed he did not commit the crime that led to his conviction.

Cole was convicted in 1986. He maintained his innocence but died in 1999 of complications from asthma while serving a 25-year sentence. He was 38.

A 1995 confession by another inmate and new DNA testing eventually cleared Cole as the rapist.


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