5 Jan 2011

Conviction overturned on DNA evidence

3:31 pm on 5 January 2011

A man who spent 30 years in an American prison in Texas for rape and robbery has had his conviction overturned after DNA evidence showed he was innocent.

Cornelius Dupree Jr was in prison from 1979 to 2010 as part of a sentence of 75 years for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

The BBC reports he was identified by the victim from a set of photographs shown to her by the police.

Now 51, Mr Dupree was freed on parole in July 2010. DNA test results proved his innocence roughly one week later. A judge has now officially overturned the conviction.

"It's a joy to be free again," Mr Dupree said outside the Dallas County courtroom.

Mr Dupree told the CNN network he had "mixed emotions" about the hearing considering how long he had been in jail.

"I must admit there is a bit of anger but there is also joy, and the joy overrides the anger," he added.

Mr Dupree was charged in 1979 with being one of two men who raped and robbed a woman, 26.

He received a 75-year sentence for robbery but was never tried on the rape charge.

The Innocence Project says only two other individuals cleared by DNA evidence anywhere in the US have spent more time in prison.

A man in the state of Florida spent 35 years in prison, while another inmate spent 31 years in a Tennessee prison.