A Houston man who served 30 years in prison for a rape and robbery he did not commit had his conviction overturned Tuesday after having served 30 years in prison, more time than any other DNA exoneree in his state.
Cornelius Dupree Jr., 51, was formally cleared of the aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon conviction that had kept him behind bars from December 1979 until July of 2010. He served 30 years of his 75-year sentence before making parole in July. About a week later, DNA test results came back proving his innocence.
“It’s a joy to be free again,” Dupree said after the ruling in a Dallas courtroom.
Dupree is the longest-serving DNA exoneree in Texas, which has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001 — more than any other state.
Nationally, only two other DNA exonerees spent more time in prison, according to the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal center representing Dupree that specializes in wrongful conviction cases. James Bain was wrongly imprisoned for 35 years in Florida, and Lawrence McKinney spent more than 31 years in a Tennessee prison.