An opinion issued yesterday by the Texas Attorney General opens the door for Gov. Rick Perry to grant a posthumous pardon for Timothy Cole, who was exonerated through DNA testing a decade after he died in prison.
Cole was convicted in 1986 of a rape in Lubbock, Texas, that he didn’t commit. Although he fought to clear his name, his requests for DNA testing we repeatedly rejected or ignored. In 1999, he died of a heart attack in a Texas prison. He was 39 years old.
A decade later, his family’s efforts to secure DNA testing on his behalf finally bore fruit. The Innocence Project of Texas secured DNA testing on his behalf. The Innocence Project joined as co-counsel and Cole was cleared at an unprecedented posthumous hearing in 2009. The issue of a pardon remained unresolved, however, until now.
Perry said he looks forward to pardoning Cole:
"I hope the Board of Pardons and Paroles will act swiftly in sending a recommendation to my desk so that justice can finally be served," the governor said. Under state law, he can only grant clemency if the board recommends it.
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. (Dallas Morning News, 01/08/2010)