What happened was, the real rapist, Jerry Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for other sex crimes, decided to confess. He wrote a letter to Cole, not knowing that he had already died. When it arrived at the Cole family home, the complicated process of reversing the conviction began.
Timothy Cole was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 1985 rape of 20-year-old Michele Mallin. He maintained his innocence, but it was not confirmed by DNA until years after his 1999 death, when another inmate confessed to the rape.
In the courtroom of Judge Charlie Baird Friday afternoon, Mallin, now 44, faced Jerry Johnson, the man who confessed to the rape.
"What you did to me, you had no right to do," she told him angrily, according to Austin's KXAN. "You've got no right to do that to any woman. I am the one with the power now, buddy."
One thing that came out in the process, was that Ms. Mallin, surely traumatized by the experience, identified Cole as her attacker. She felt sure he was the rapist. After that, Texas justice took over, effectively railroading the young man for a crime he hadn't committed. The prosecutors and everyone else involved overlooked the little fact that Cole had asthma and Mallin testified that the attacker smoked continually.
I call that railroading and I call that Texas justice, although to be fair, it's surely happens in places other than the great state of Texas.
In this entire ugly case, I feel it's the prosecutors and judges and lax defense attorneys that are most at fault. Mallin's making a bad ID, for me is totally excusable given the circumstances. But, the officers of the court who failed to achieve any semblance of justice, should answer for this.
What's your opinion? Is it wrong when prosecutors approach their work as if it were a numbers game with so little concern for the truth? Or is that another misreading on my part, being a bleeding-heart liberal who always takes the part of the criminal? In this case, I hasten to point out, Cole was not a criminal.
What do you think about the anger expressed by the victim? We often talk about the closure that victims and the family members seek. It seems this case illustrates how elusive that closure can be even when one's attackers receive severe sentences. Do you think it's the same in Capital cases? After the execution, do the family members achieve that famous peace of mind and closure? I think not. I think the kinds of wounds people sustain at the hands of these violent offenders in most cases can never be healed. What do you think?