Innocence Blog

After 30 Years in Prison, Texas Man to Be Cleared Tuesday

Posted: January 3, 2011 4:36 pm

A Texas judge is expected tomorrow to toss out the conviction of Cornelius Dupree, an Innocence Project client who served three decades in prison for a rape and robbery DNA proves he didn't commit. Only two of the 265 people cleared by DNA have served more time in prison before being exonerated.

A hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow for Judge Don Adams to rule on a joint motion from the Innocence Project and the Dallas District Attorney's office seeking to vacate Dupree's conviction based on the DNA results.
Dupree and another man were convicted in 1980 for allegedly participating in a robbery and rape the year before. The female victim identified both men as the perpetrators in a photo lineup and again in court, but the male victim did not pick either man from the same photo array. Dupree's attorney argued that he had been misidentified, but he was convicted and sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Dupree appealed his conviction several times without success. Eventually, he sought the help of the Innocence Project. Working with the Dallas District Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit, the Innocence Project obtained DNA tests on evidence collected from the victim's body after the attack. The results found DNA profiles from two different unknown men, proving the innocence of both Dupree and his co-defendant. Dupree's co-defendant, Anthony Massingill, is represented by the Texas Wesleyan Innocence Project, and is expected to be cleared at a later hearing.

Dupree was released in July on parole after serving 30 years in Texas prisons. Shortly after his release, he married Selma Perkins Dupree.

Dupree’s exoneration won’t become official until Texas’ highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, reviews the finding of innocence.

Read today’s Innocence Project press release on Dupree’s case.

Media coverage:

Associated Press: DNA Clears Texas Man Who Spent 30 Years in Prison

Dallas Observer: Cornelius Dupree Jr. Served 30 Years in a Texas Prison For a Crime He Didn’t Commit