Posted: February 1, 2007 12:00 AM
Since 2001, 24 men who were wrongfully convicted in Dallas County, Texas, have been fully exonerated by DNA testing. Together they served more than 300 years in prison and many more years on parole. Several more cases, in which DNA has proven innocence but exonerations have not yet become official, may still be pending in courts.
Following are brief descriptions of the 24 official exoneration cases.
David Shawn Pope was convicted in 1986 of a 1985 aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 45 years. He was pardoned in 2001 after spending 15 years in prison.
Wiley Fountain was convicted in 1986 of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Fountain was released on parole in February 2001, but his parole was revoked months later when he failed to find a job and pay fees as a registered sex offender. He was finally released from prison in 2002 after DNA excluded him from rape kit evidence, and he was pardoned by Governor Rick Perry in 2003.
Donald Wayne Good was convicted in 1984 of committing a 1983 rape and burglary. He was sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 1993, but his parole was revoked in 2002 (for a minor property crime); he is still serving a five-year sentence for the property crime. In 2004, DNA testing proved that Good could not have been the man who committed the 1983 crimes, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals exonerated him in 2004.
In 1983, Keith E. Turner was convicted of a 1982 aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison, of which he served four years. Turner was exonerated and pardoned in 2005.
In 1997, Entre Nax Karage was convicted of committing a 1994 murder and sentenced to life in prison, of which he served seven years. He was exonerated and pardoned in December 2005.
Eugene Ivory Henton was convicted of sexual assault in 1984 and sentenced to four years. He served 18 months in prison on that charge. DNA testing exculpated Henton in 2005, and he was exonerated the following year.
Gregory Wallis was convicted in 1989 of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault in 1988. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison and served 18 years. He was released in March 2006 and officially exonerated in 2007.
Billy Wayne Miller was convicted of abducting and sexually assaulting a woman and sentenced to life in 1984. He was released from prison in May 2006 after serving 22 years, and he was pardoned in December 2006.
Billy James Smith was convicted of aggravated sexual assault while using and exhibiting a deadly weapon in 1986. He was sentenced to life in prison. Smith was released in July 2006 and officially exonerated in December 2006.
10. Larry Fuller
Larry Fuller was convicted in 1981 of aggravated rape and sentenced to 50 years. (In 1999, he was released on parole, but he returned to prison because of a minor parole violation.) DNA testing in 2006 proved that he could not have been the man that committed the crime, and he was released. In January 2007, he was pardoned.
11. Andrew Gossett
In February 2000, Andrew Gossett was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 50 years. Gossett was finally released on January 4, 2007, after DNA test results proved his innocence.
James Douglas Waller was convicted in 1983 of aggravated sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 years in connection with the rape of a 12-year-old boy. He was released on parole in 1993. In 1989, he began seeking DNA testing at his own expense, and in 2006, testing supported his claim of innocence. He was pardoned in 2007.
Giles was convicted in 1983 for allegedly raping a victim with two other men. He was released on parole in 1993 but continued to pursue legal action to prove his innocence. The Innocence Project began investigating his case in 2000 and DNA evidence proved that Giles was innocent. He was finally exonerated in 2007.
14. Charles Chatman
Chatman was convicted in Dallas of a 1981 rape after he was misidentified in a photo lineup. He served nearly 27 years before DNA testing proved his innocence in 2007, leading to his release on January 3, 2008.
15. Thomas McGowan
Thomas McGowan served nearly 23 years in Texas prison for a rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proven his innocence and led to his release in 2008. Like many wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA testing, McGowan’s conviction rested in part on an eyewitness misidentification in a faulty lineup.
16. Steven Phillips
In two separate trials, Steven Phillips was convicted of burglary in 1982 and rape in 1983. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for these two convictions. Before a third trial could begin, Phillips pled guilty to charges stemming from five other similar crimes in exchange for an additional sentence of 10 years. In 1996, Phillips was released on parole but was arrested again in 1997 for an alleged parole violation and returned to prison. After serving 24 years in prison, Phillips was released on parole in 2007. One year later, DNA testing proved his innocence and he was formally exonerated in 2008.
17. Patrick Waller
Patrick Waller was wrongfully convicted of robbery and kidnapping in 1992. He spent nearly 16 years in Texas prisons before DNA testing proved his innocence. He was officially exonerated on September 24, 2008.
18. Johnnie Lindsey
Johnnie Lindsey was wrongfully convicted in 1982 of aggravated rape and sentenced to life in prison. He was officially exonerated and pardoned on April 24, 2009.
20. Jerry Lee Evans
James Lee Woodard was freed in Texas on April 29, 2008 after DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project of Texas proved his innocence of a 1980 rape in Dallas. He was officially exonerated on September 30, 2009, when he received a pardon from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Jerry Lee Evans spent more than two decades in Texas prisons for a violent sexual assault that he did not commit. After DNA testing conducted in 2007 determined that Evans could not have committed the crime, he was officially exonerated on May 27, 2009.
21. Cornelius Dupree
Cornelius Dupree was exonerated in 2011, after spending more than 30 years in prison for a rape and robbery he didn’t commit. He could have been eligible for parole much earlier, but he would have had to admit his guilt, something he refused to do.
22. Johnny Pinchback
Johnny Pinchback spent more than 26 years in prison for the rapes of a 14 and a 15 year-old girl. He was exonerated though DNA evidence in 2011, even though almost all of the biological evidence from his case had been destroyed.
23. Raymond Jackson
Raymond Jackson and James Curtis Williams each spent nearly three decades in prison for a rape and shooting they did not commit. They were included in a photo line-up for the rape and shooting only because they were suspects in another case at the time. They were convicted almost solely based on an identification from that line-up.
James Curtis Williams and Raymond Jackson each spent nearly three decades in prison for a rape and shooting they did not commit. They were included in a photo line-up for the rape and shooting only because they were suspects in another case at the time. They were convicted almost solely based on an identification from that line-up.
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