DALLAS (AP) - A Dallas man who spent more than 27 years in
prison for a murder he didn't commit is free.
James Lee Woodard was released on a personal bond Tuesday -
cleared of a 1980 murder by DNA test results. Woodard served more
prison time than any other wrongfully convicted U.S. inmate to be
later exonerated by DNA testing.
Wearing a purple shirt and tie with a black sport coat, the
55-year-old Woodard stepped out of the courtroom as a free man and
raised his arms to a throng of photographers. Supporters and other
people gathered outside the court erupted in applause.
Woodard became the 18th person in Dallas County to have his
conviction cast aside, a figure unmatched by any county nationally,
according to the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal center
that specializes in overturning wrongful convictions.
Overall, 31 people have been formally exonerated through DNA
testing in Texas, also a national high.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)