A man who spent 35 years in prison for raping a child has been freed after DNA evidence proved his innocence.
James Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 246 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide, according to the Innocence Project of Florida. The longest-serving before him was James Lee Woodard of Dallas, who was released last year after spending more than 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
“Nothing can replace the years Jamie has lost,” said Seth Miller, a lawyer for the project, which helped Bain win freedom. “Today is a day of renewal.”
Mr Bain made his first-ever mobile phone call on Thursday, dialling his elderly mother to tell her he had been freed.
Mobile devices did not exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field. Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing that officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.
As Mr Bain walked out of the Polk County courthouse on Thursday, wearing a black T-shirt that said “not guilty”, he spoke of his deep faith.
“No, I’m not angry,” he said. “Because I’ve got God.”
The 54-year-old said he was looking forward to eating fried turkey and drinking a Dr Pepper soda. He said he also hoped to continue his education.
Attorneys from the Innocence Project of Florida got involved in Mr Bain’s case earlier this year after he filed several previous petitions asking for DNA testing, all of which were thrown out.
He was convicted largely on the strength of the victim’s eyewitness identification, even though testing available at the time did not definitively link him to the crime.
The boy said his attacker had bushy sideburns and a moustache. The boy’s uncle, a former assistant principal at a high school, said it sounded like Mr Bain, a former student.
The boy picked Mr Bain out of a photo lineup, although there are lingering questions about whether detectives steered him.
The jury rejected Mr Bain’s story that he was home watching TV with his twin sister when the crime was committed, an alibi she repeated at a news conference last week. He was 19 when he was sentenced.
Florida last year passed a law that automatically grants former inmates found innocent $50,000 for each year they spent in prison. That means Mr Bain is entitled to $1.75 million (£1 million).
Source: The Telegraph
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.