A man in Texas has had his robbery conviction overturned after serving 30 years in jail. He was proved innocent by a DNA test. Cornelius Dupree Jr was jailed from 1979 to 2010 as part of a 75-year sentence for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. The 51-year-old was freed on parole in July 2010. DNA test results proved his innocence roughly one week later. A judge has now officially overturned Mr Dupree's conviction.
He could have cut his prison stint short twice and made parole — if he had admitted he was a sex offender. But Cornelius Dupree Jr. refused to do so, doggedly maintaining his innocence in a 1979 rape and robbery, in the process serving more time for a crime he didn't commit than any other Texas inmate exonerated by DNA evidence. "Whatever your truth is, you have to stick with it," Dupree, 51, said Tuesday, minutes after a Dallas judge overturned his conviction. "It's a joy to be free again," Mr Dupree said outside the Dallas County courtroom. Mr Dupree told the CNN network he had "mixed emotions" about the hearing considering how long he had been in jail. "I must admit there is a bit of anger but there is also joy, and the joy overrides the anger," he added.
Mr Dupree was charged in 1979 with being one of two men who raped and robbed a 26-year-old woman. He received a 75-year sentence for robbery but was never tried on the rape charge Mr Dupree and Anthony Massingill, who was also convicted for the crime, were identified by the victim following the event. Massingill, who is also serving time for a separate rape charge, is expected to have his conviction related to the 1979 crime cleared as well, according to the Innocence Project, a public policy organization.
Mr Dupree served more years in prison than anyone who has been freed by DNA evidence in Texas. The state has exonerated 41 wrongly convicted inmates through
the use of DNA since 2001 - more than any other US state. Only two other individuals cleared by DNA evidence anywhere in the US have spent more time in prison, the Innocence Project said. One man in the state of Florida spent 35 years in prison, while another inmate spent 31 years in a Tennessee jail.
Congratulations Mr Dupree. Nothing can give you back the time that was stolen from you but we hope the time you have now will be spent enjoying the sun, the sky, the beauty of the natural world and the company of loved ones.