Gov. Rick Perry today granted a posthumous pardon for innocence to Tim Cole after receiving a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
"I have been looking forward to the day I could tell Tim Cole's mother that her son's name has been cleared for a crime he did not commit," Gov. Perry said. "The State of Texas cannot give back the time he spent in prison away from his loved ones, but today I was finally able to tell her we have cleared his name, and hope this brings a measure of peace to his family."
Cole was serving a 25 year sentence for aggravated sexual assault of Michele Jean Murray when he died from an asthma attack in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Dec. 2, 1999. DNA testing later proved he was innocent. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously to recommend the posthumous pardon for innocence. Additionally, Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Matthew Powell and Lubbock Chief of Police Dale Holton have written letters in support of a posthumous pardon. The victim has also supported Tim Cole's family in obtaining his exoneration.
The authority for a governor to grant a posthumous pardon was uncertain until Jan. 7, 2010, when Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion stating that a governor may grant a posthumous pardon.