Sculpture Honors Prisoner Wrongfully Convicted of Rape

The sculpture of a Fort Worth man who died in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape will be positioned so its gaze falls on the Texas Tech University law school, while the body will face the church parking lot where the crime he was wrongly accused of occurred.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports Lubbock sculptor Eddie Dixon hopes to finish the 10-foot-tall likeness of Tim Cole in May. The sculpture, which will be cast in bronze, will be part of a memorial in Lubbock that city leaders are planning.

Cory Session, Cole's younger brother, said he was brought to tears when he saw the statue.
"Looking at it brought tears to my eyes because our mother passed away back in October and I only could think about was, `Wow I wish she could have seen this,"' he said.
The statue depicts Cole as a college student wearing a sweater vest and penny loafers. On the left shoe is the year he was convicted. On the right, the year he died.
"We wore penny loafers forever," Session said.
Cole was convicted in 1985 of raping a fellow Texas Tech student. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 1999, he died from complications from asthma.
A state judge in 2009 ordered the record cleared after a two-day hearing that included DNA evidence and a confession from a Texas prison inmate who was already serving a 99-year sentence for rape.
Lubbock City Councilman Todd Klein led the effort in the City Council to approve the memorial.
"The theme of the memorial is about lessons learned and moving forward with a spirit of forgiveness," he said. "Let's do everything we can to prevent it from happening again."
Dixon was commissioned to produce the sculpture by Kevin Glasheen, a Lubbock lawyer who helped Cole's family with the exoneration process.
"Tim's life is an example of character and how to deal with adversity," he said. "It's about truth and justice, and it's also about Tim's family and the way that they took a terrible tragedy and used the energy from that to do something positive to make the world a better place."
Other works by Dixon can be seen at the Pentagon, West Point and the Smithsonian.

He said he was honored to work on Cole's statue. "He stood on principle; it radiates out on this piece," Dixon said.

Session said his brother never gave up on the justice system.

He quoted a line in his brother's letter to his sister: "I still believe in the justice system even though it doesn't believe in me."

Session hopes the statue will become a source of inspiration to people who have fallen on hard times.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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