Historical Plaque to Honor Exonerated Inmate

Man cleared by DNA testing after his death

By Frank Heinz
|  Monday, Feb 6, 2012  |  Updated 8:12 AM CDT
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Historical Plaque to Honor Exonerated Inmate

The grave site of Timothy Cole, the first Texas inmate posthumously exonerated by DNA testing, will get a new historical marker Monday.

Cole was convicted in 1985 and, until his death in prison in 1999, had fought for his freedom the entire time he was incarcerated.

In 2007, the Innocence Project of Texas began to investigate on his behalf and eventually proved his innocence.   According to their research, Cole was erroneously convicted due to eyewitness misidentification and improper forensic science. The real perpetrator was found after he confessed to the Innocence Project.

Cole was the first Texas inmate to be exonerated by DNA testing after his death.  With that, and because of his fight for justice, The Texas Historical Commission has chosen to honor Cole with a historical marker.

Additionally, the state of Texas passed the Timothy Cole Act, which increases compensation paid to exonerees to $80,000 per year served. According to the Innocence Project, the state also created the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions to study the prevention of wrong convictions in the state of Texas.

Cole's ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth. Prior to the ceremony, a 90-minute presentation will be held at The Texas Wesleyan School of Law titled "The Truth about Tim Cole and Texas Justice."

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