A hearing this week could result in Texas’ first-ever posthumous exoneration based on DNA evidence, the AP reports. Tim Cole, who died of a heart attack in prison in 1999, was convicted in the 1985 rape of a Texas Tech student. But an imprisoned rapist’s recent admission of guilt, backed up by new crime scene DNA analysis and evidence of a flawed investigation, could prompt a judge to overturn Cole’s conviction.
“We need exoneration,” Cole’s brother says. “We are extremely hopeful that this process will actually get him cleared.” Cole and his family always maintained his innocence, and in 2007 a convicted rapist admitted to the crime, something DNA testing confirmed last year. Although the rape survivor picked Cole out of a photo lineup, now she, too, wants to clear his name.