The family and lawyers of a dead inmate are now asking for a hearing to clear the man's name. Recently re-tested DNA from 1986 now concludes a man who sat and died in prison never committed the rape he was convicted of.
Timothy Brian Cole was convicted of raping a Texas Tech woman back in 1986....and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He always maintained his innocence, but later died in prison in 1999. In the past few years, a man named Jerry Wayne Johnson in prison on other rape charges wrote several letters to Cole's family confessing to the crime.
The District Attorney's office re-tested the semen sample and concluded it does not match Cole's but rather matches Johnson's DNA. Today we spoke with the man who prosecuted Cole back in the eighties. He says this new information is hard to hear.
Jim Bob Darnell, Prosecuted Case in 1986:
"It's easy to look at things in hindsight but at the point and time that all that happened it's hard to know what might have been done to make things different."
Darnell says that DNA was a fairly new tool as far as evidence back in 1986. Now if the hearing is granted and they clear Cole's name, this will be the first posthumous exoneration in the state of Texas.