Dallas Court Officially Declares Cornelius Dupree Jr., Innocent After 30 Years In Prison
|Photos by Andrea Grimes|
|Cornelius Dupree Jr., surrounded by friends, family and many of his fellow DNA exonerees, was officially declared innocent of robbery and sexual assault this morning in Dallas court.|
In 2006, the Innocence Project took on Dupree's case, and the organization's director, Barry Scheck, was on hand calling today "this glorious day." Surrounded by exonerees, Scheck said that "the men behind me are in an exclusive club" that no one should ever belong to -- those wrongly convicted by eyewitness testimony.
He spoke at length about the necessity of reforming witness identification procedures in the 82nd Texas Legislature, which begins next week.
"I'm sick and tired of coming to this place," Scheck half-joked, referring to trips to Dallas to represent wrongfully convicted inmates. He called upon the courtroom to "march in lockstep to Austin" to ask legislators to rethink the way witness identification works in Texas.
Dupree, who is 51 now but was 21 when he was incarcerated in 1980 after a fudged eyewitness lineup resulted in faulty eyewitness identification, smiled broadly during the proceedings but spoke of "mixed emotions" about his official declaration of innocence. He's been out on parole since July of last year and married his wife the day he was released.
Still, he told reporters, "Words really can't make up for what I lost." While serving time, he said, "it was only by the grace of God that I was able to sustain."