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Saturday, February 07, 2009

DOA: Post mortem DNA

In 1985, a Texas Tech co-ed, Michele Mallin, was raped.

Eventually, police arrested a suspect, an African American named Timothy Cole. They put his polaroid photo with five mug shots. Mallin now claims that his photo stood out like a sore thumb and police told her that he was a violent criminal. She identified him again in a live line-up.

Cole claimed innocence, turned down a plea bargain for probation. After his conviction and sentence of 25 years in prison, he was told that his release on parole depended on his expressing remorse, which meant admitting his guilt. He refused.

In 1999, Cole died in prison, from respiratory illness. He was then 39 years old.

In 2008, The Texas Innocence Project tested DNA in the Mallin case. It was matched to Jerry Wayne Johnson, who is serving life in prison for other rapes. Johnson then confessed in the Mallin case.

In a court hearing, Johnson apologized to Cole’s family. So did Mallin. The Lubbock County D.A.’s office did not participate in the hearing.

The state judge expunged Cole’s record.

Source: Los Angeles Times, 2/7/09.

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