Gov. Rick Perry issued a posthumous pardon today for Tim Cole, who died in prison after he was wrongly convicted of rape. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles last week recommended that Cole be pardoned after DNA evidence showed he did not rape Michele Jean Murray.
Cole died of an asthma attack in 1999 while serving a 25-year sentence for aggravated sexual assault.
"I have been looking forward to the day I could tell Tim Cole’s mother that her son’s name has been cleared for a crime he did not commit,” Perry said. “The State of Texas cannot give back the time he spent in prison away from his loved ones, but today I was finally able to tell her we have cleared his name, and hope this brings a measure of peace to his family.”
DNA evidence exposed in 2008 revealed that Cole did not commit the rape. In 2009, a Travis County trial judge cleared Cole. But Perry did not pardon Cole last year because he said he was not certain he had constitutional authority to do so. In January, Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote an opinion that said Perry did have authority to make the pardon.