On October 15, 1985, a woman working at a convenience store in Waxahachie, Texas was beaten and raped during an armed robbery.
Victor Larue Thomas, a 26-year-old African American, was arrested after the victim, who was white, identified him as her attacker.
Based on the victim’s testimony, Thomas was convicted on June 15, 1986 and was received three life prison terms.
While in prison, Thomas began writing letters seeking help. He wrote scores of letters and one of them was read by state District Judge Gene Knize, who asked the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office to re-investigate the case, appointed attorney Joe Gallo as his defense attorney, and ordered that DNA testing be performed.
When the DNA tests excluded Thomas, he was released on June 27, 2001 and the charges were dismissed. He was pardoned by Gov. Rick Perry on April 17, 2002. As of 2012, he had received $633,000 in state compensation.
– Maurice Possley