A Mississippi judge today cleared two men who had served nearly three decades each in prison for rape they did not commit. Phillip Bivens and Bobby Ray Dixon were cleared this morning after DNA evidence showed that they didn’t commit a 1979 rape and murder. A third man, Larry Ruffin, was also cleared by the DNA tests but died in prison in 2002. The judge said he will consider posthumously exonerating Ruffin.
Bivens and Dixon 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, point to the involvement of another man, who is in prison for a separate rape.