After 30 years in a Texas penitentiary, Cornelius Dupree Jr. has been declared innocent and set free. The Texas man was given several chances to plead guilty and receive parole, but he continued to maintain his innocence.
“Whatever your truth is, you have to stick with it,” Dupree said after his conviction was overturned by a Dallas judge.
Dupree, after three decades in the pen, was finally exonerated by a DNA test that proved his innocence in the 1979 rape and robbery.
In July the state released Dupree with the condition that he live under house arrest. The very next day, Dupree married his fiance, whom he met more than 20 years ago while in prison.
The exoneration hearing was delayed until January 4th pending a retest of the DNA to ensure that there were no mistakes. According to Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, Tuesday was “a glorious day.”
Texas compensation laws allow for an $80,000 per year of imprisonment, meaning Dupree will be receiving $2.4 million in compensation, none of which will be subject to federal taxation.
Since 2001, Texas has set free 41 inmates who were proven innocent through DNA testing. That is well above any other state.
Dupree’s appeals had been turned down three times previously by the Court of Criminal Appeals.