Texan Cornelius Dupree Jr. spent three decades in jail after being sentenced to 75 years for an a rape and robbery that he didn’t commit. Dupree, who tried to prove his innocence the entire time he spent in prison, was finally exonerated through DNA evidence. Known for being stringent when it comes to criminal punishment, Texas, either because of or despite its tough judicial system, has, since 2001, exonerated 40 wrongfully convicted prisoners as a result of DNA testing. That’s more than any other state. Out of those 40, Dupree, who made parole in July, was forced to spend the longest time behind bars before he was vindicated. “It’s a joy to be free again,” he announced after the ruling. As joyful as his newfound freedom might be, no one would be mad if he were a bit bitter, too. At 51, he can’t get those 30 years back.
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