Dallas A Dallas man who spent more than 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit was freed Tuesday, after being incarcerated longer than any other wrongfully convicted U.S. inmate cleared by DNA testing.
James Lee Woodard stepped out of the courtroom and raised his arms to a throng of photographers. Supporters and other people gathered outside the court erupted in applause.
"No words can express what a tragic story yours is," state District Judge Mark Stoltz told Woodard at a brief hearing before his release.
Woodard, 55, cleared of the 1980 murder of his girlfriend, became the 18th person in Dallas County to have his conviction cast aside. That's a figure unmatched by any county nationally, according to the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal center that specializes in overturning wrongful convictions.