Exonerated Inmate Dies Behind Bars

By NOMAAN MERCHANT
|  Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012  |  Updated 4:47 PM CDT
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Exonerated Inmate Dies Behind Bars

James Lee Woodard mugshot photo from Aug. 2012.

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Just before he walked out of a courtroom four years ago, James Lee Woodard said the first thing he wanted to do after 27 years behind bars was take a breath as a free man.

But he would die in custody.

Woodard died Monday after suffering a seizure while in the Dallas County jail. The 60-year-old Woodard had been arrested in August after officers in suburban Dallas said they found him in possession of cocaine.

Woodard was exonerated in 2008 for the 1980 rape and murder of his girlfriend after years of efforts and failed pleas for testing.

He worked with the Innocence Project of Texas in the years after his death, but struggled with seizures and legal problems.

Advocates say his effort will be missed.

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