Wrongly-Convicted Man Begins to Rebuild Life

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DALLAS -- A wrongly convicted man released from prison last week told law students tonight others like him need their help.

Charles Chatman was exonerated last week by a DNA test proving he was innocent of the rape for which he was convicted nearly 27 years ago. He is the longest serving wrongly convicted man to be released in Texas.

The 47-year-old Chatman says he is now trying to rebuild a life stolen from his when he was 20. He has moved in with his nephew, a man whom Chatman says "has been with me through this whole ordeal."

Chatman says life on the outside has taken some getting used to. He says he enjoys being able to go into stores by himself and telling barbers what kind of haircut he'd like.

Chatman is considering a lawsuit. He has met with Lubbock attorney Kevin Glasheen, who represents at least three other wrongly convicted men from Dallas County who were freed when DNA testing proved their innocence. Under state law, Chatman is also entitled to $50,000 for each year he was wrongly incarcerated.

Chatman is the 15th inmate from Dallas County since 2001 to be freed by DNA testing. Dallas has freed more inmates after DNA testing than any other county nationwide and Texas leads the country in prisoners freed by DNA testing, with at least 30 since 2001.