|Cornelius Dupree Jr. served 30 years behind bars.|
DALLAS — A Texas man who spent more time in prison than any other inmate cleared by DNA evidence in the state is expected to have a court overturn his conviction at an exoneration hearing today.
Cornelius Dupree Jr., 51, was paroled out of prison in July after 30 years behind bars for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. DNA test results that came back 10 days after his release excluded him as the person who raped and robbed a Dallas woman in 1979.
The Dallas County district attorney’s office said yesterday it supports Dupree’s innocence claim.
Texas has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001, more than any other state. Dupree’s 30 years would surpass James Woodard, who spent more than 27 years imprisoned for a murder that he was cleared of in 2008.
About two dozen DNA exonerations have happened in Dallas since 2001, more than any other county in the nation. Only two states — Illinois and New York — have freed more of the wrongly convicted through DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project, a legal center that represents Dupree; the group specializes in wrongful conviction cases.
Dallas’s record of DNA exonerations is unmatched nationally because the county crime lab maintains biological evidence even decades after a conviction, leaving samples available to test.
In addition, District Attorney Craig Watkins has cooperated with innocence groups in reviewing hundreds of requests by inmates for DNA testing.
Dupree was charged in 1979 with raping and robbing a 26-year-old woman and sentenced in 1980 to 75 years in prison for aggravated robbery. He was never tried on the rape charge.