Convicted Man Is Exonerated By DNA Evidence

After thirty years in prison, Cornelius Dupree Jr. has been declared innocent of the crimes a court convicted him of. Dupree went to prison in 1979 because of a rape and robbery with which he had no involvement whatsoever. Dupree was originally sentenced to 75 years in prison. It was DNA evidence that exonerated him of the crimes.

Georgia appeals attorneys following news reports of the Dupree case noted that Cornelius Dupree served more time than any other DNA exoneree in Texas, where he was incarcerated.

Dupree served thirty years of the 75-year sentence before making parole in July of 2010. A week after his release on parole, DNA test results came back that proved his innocence.

Forty-one convicts have been freed by DNA evidence in Texas. That is more than in any other state.

Only two other people exonerated by DNA evidence have served more time behind bars before being freed. James Bain was wrongly imprisoned for thirty-five years in Florida, and Lawrence McKinney spent more than thirty-one years in a Tennessee prison.

Anthony Massingill was another defendant in the Dupree case. He was convicted for a different sexual assault and is serving a life sentence. The DNA evidence cleared him of involvement in the Dupree case, and DNA testing is ongoing in the assault that he is serving time for.

In 1979, a woman and a man stopped at a Dallas liquor store. As they were getting into their car, two men, one armed, got into the car and ordered the couple to drive. The carjackers robbed the couple, then kicked the man out of the car. The woman was driven to a park and raped. She ran to a highway where she was found unconscious.

Both Dupree and Massingill were arrested because they looked similar to two suspects being sought in another sexual assault and robbery. The female victim picked both men out of a photo array, but the man did not identify either defendant in the same photo array. Dupree was convicted of aggravated robbery. He was never tried on the rape charge.

Before he was exonerated, Dupree had lost three appeals.

Source: MSNBC, “Texan declared innocent after 30 years in prison; A Dallas court overturns his conviction after DNA evidence clears him,” January 4, 2011