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19th person exonerated in Texas!

On June 26, The State of Texas announced that Patrick Waller had become the 19th person in Dallas county to be to be exonerated of his crimes through the use of forensic DNA testing. Mr. Waller has served almost sixteen years in prison as a result of being wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in 1992. At the time of his arrest, Patrick Waller was 22 and already on probation for a previous drug charge. He was convicted and sentence to life in prison for allegedly being one of two men who raped a women in an abandon Dallas, Texas, building.

In 2001, when the state of Texas passed a new law allowing prisoners access to DNA testing, Waller requested the testing but was denied by the former district attorney Bill Hill. Not giving up, in 2005 Waller again requested the forensic testing, and again he was denied. It was not until the current District Attorney Craig Watkins began investigating old cases in which prisoners had been denied forensic DNA testing that the truth of Patrick Waller’s innocence was revealed.

DNA analysis in fact proved Patrick Waller’s innocence while at the same time linking another man, Byron Bell, as the real perpetrator of the crime. Bell admitted to his involvement in the crime and is currently incarcerated for a burglary that he committed a few months after the rape. In addition, Bell named his accomplice Leonardo Simmons, who also admitted to the crime. Despite the fact that neither man will be charged for the crime because the statue of limitations for the sexual assault has expired, Waller has finally proven his innocence and is scheduled to be released from prison in the next few weeks.

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