News 11.09.10

Mississippi Man Dies Months After DNA Proved Innocence

Less than two months after being cleared of a rape he did not commit, Bobby Ray Dixon has died. Dixon along with Phillip Bivens and Larry Ruffin were wrongfully convicted of a 1979 rape and murder and spent more than thirty years behind bars before DNA evidence proved their innocence.

The Daily Comet reported that Dixon died Sunday after suffering from lung and brain cancer. He was 53 years old. Dixon’s brother Jerry Dixon was happy his brother lived long enough to be cleared of the crimes.

“He knew his name was cleared before he left. He wanted to be baptized again, and I thank God he got to do that,” Jerry Dixon said Tuesday. “He wanted to ride a bicycle and he got to do that. He had been locked up for 32 years.”

Dixon was already out on medical release due to his cancer diagnosis when news of his actual innocence was announced on September 16. Ruffin died in prison in 2002 before seeing his name cleared. Bivens and Dixon falsely confessed to the crime after a police interrogation and allegedly implicated another man Ruffin as the rapist. They pled guilty to the crime, but would soon recant, saying they had been beaten and forced to implicate Ruffin. DNA tests obtained by the

Innocence Project New Orleans

, a member of the

Innocence Network

, pointed to the involvement of another man, who is in prison for a separate rape.

 

Jerry Dixon said funeral services will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at New Zion Baptist Church in Jones County, Mississippi.


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