Innocent Con Freed After 27 Years

DNA testing confirmed he wasn't guilty of rape
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2008 3:00 AM CST
Dallas Distict Court Judge John Creuzot, left, gives Charles Chatman a hug after leaving court Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008, in Dallas. Creuzot released Chatman and recommended that his rape conviction be...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A man who spent 27 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit was released yesterday after DNA evidence proved he hadn't assaulted his accuser. Charles Chatman, now 47, had maintained his innocence throughout his time in jail, refusing to give an account of the crime to the parole board on three separate occasions.

Chatman is the 15th Dallas County inmate to be exonerated by DNA testing since 2001. The county has released more prisoners than any other in part because the crime lab it uses retains biological evidence, making testing possible decades after a conviction. "It is time we stop kidding ourselves in believing that what happened in Dallas is somehow unique," said the founder of the Innocence Project, which handled Chatman's case.