Ernest Sonnier’s First Days of Freedom


Ernest Sonnier spent the weekend with his family for the first time in 23 years after he was freed from prison Friday based on evidence of his innocence. The Innocence Project will continue working to fully clear Sonnier’s name, as DNA testing has implicated the two real perpetrators of the crime for which Sonnier was convicted. The facts of the case are here.

More than 17 relatives – encompassing five generations and ranging in age from 18 months to 94 years – joined Sonnier at the Harris County Courthouse Friday as he was freed on bond pending further proceedings. Two other men proven innocent by DNA testing –

James Giles


James Waller

– were also on hand to congratulate and support Sonnier and his family.

Hundreds of Innocence Project supporters sent personal messages to Sonnier this weekend welcoming him home.

Send yours here


Here’s a sampling of media coverage of Sonnier’s release over the weekend:

Houston Chronicle:

A Time for Hugs and Happiness

(with video)


Man Who Spent 23 Years in Jail Released on Bond After DNA Testing

(with video)


Man Freed After 23 Years in Prison Due to DNA Evidence

(with video)

New York Times:

Man Held for 23 Years Is Set Free by DNA Tests


DNA Tests Clear US Man After 23 Years in Prison

Associated Press:

Texas Man Convicted of Rape Freed After DNA Tests

Grits for Breakfast:

‘Nuther Exoneration Implicates Houston PD Crime Lab

Talk Left:

DNA Frees Another TX Man – This One After 23 Years

Washington Post:

Photo of James Giles and Ernest Sonnier

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