In April 1982, a Dallas, Texas supermarket was robbed by two men. Five eyewitnesses identified Michael Woten as one of the robbers. Woten said he had been hitchhiking through Oklahoma at the time of the robbery, and had caught a ride with a trucker named Don. Woten’s attorney, however, was unable to locate the trucker. In 1982, a jury convicted Woten of armed robbery, and he was sentenced to 55 years in prison.
While in prison, Woten encountered Russell Chamberlain, who admitted to committing the robbery. In 1989, Woten wrote to the Dallas Times Herald and enclosed an affidavit from Chamberlain saying that he, not Woten, had committed the robbery. The Times Herald began an investigation, and in January 1990 was able to track down the trucker with whom Woten had caught a ride in Oklahoma eight years earlier. The trucker confirmed Woten’s alibi. Prosecutors then asked the Board of Pardons and Paroles to pardon Woten.
Woten was granted a full pardon in February 1990, and was released from prison. He died in a car accident in August 1990.
- Stephanie Denzel