DNA indicates late Texas inmate innocent

July 1, 2008 at 9:41 AM

LUBBOCK, Texas, July 1 (UPI) -- Texas prosecutors say DNA from a notorious sex-crime spree doesn't match that of the defendant who died in prison staunchly maintaining his innocence.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Tuesday that the development in the case that sent Timothy Brian Cole to prison could lead to the first posthumous exoneration of a Texas inmate through DNA testing.

The newspaper said the DNA matched another inmate who confessed to the attacks after the statute of limitations had expired.

Cole spent 14 years of a 25-year sentence in prison after he was convicted for a series of rapes on the campus of Texas Tech University in the 1980s. He died of heart disease in 1999 after refusing parole because it would have required him to admit guilt in the case.

The Texas Innocence Project has asked a judge to exonerate Cole and said the case highlighted the need for reforms that allow inmates to bring up new evidence in court after they are convicted.

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