Innocent Man Free After 35 Years

DNA evidence clears him of rape charges
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2009 5:15 PM CST
James Bain talks to the media during a news conference outside the Polk County Courthouse Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009 in Bartow, Fla.   (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
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(Newser) – James Bain left prison today after serving 35 years for a crime he didn’t commit. The 54-year-old Florida man, cleared by DNA evidence of the 1974 rape of a 9-year-old boy, appeared relieved as he left the courthouse after a judge signed the order vacating his conviction. A bit of future shock greeted him on the courtroom steps, when a family member gave him a cell phone—his mother was calling—a device he’d never used before.

Asked if he thought this day would come, Bain said “nope,” telling a reporter that he got through his ordeal “one day at a time.” One thing that helped him keep a positive mindset? “Watching Titanic.” Bain offered support for other wrongfully convicted people in prison, and said he’d like to go back to school, the Tampa Tribune reports. But he’s still taking it one day at a time: "The main thing," he said, "is to get back to my mom."

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