It was 1985 when Tim Cole was picked out of a lineup for a rape he never committed but would be convicted of and sentenced to serve 25 years. He was near the Texas Tech campus when the rape occurred and as a result was sent to prison because the victim picked the wrong man and the courts sentenced the wrong man. While in prison Tim Cole remained confident that the justice system would prevail and though he did not live to see it, dying in 1999, a 2009 DNA test proved his innocence. Something he never did compromise on.
While in prison Cole gave away thousands to charity from his GI Bill, nurtured his family and encouraged his sister Karen Kennard to pursue her law degree. She did and became the city attorney for Austin, Tx.
It was on 9/17/14 that Gov. Rick Perry, state Attorney General Henry Abbot and state Sen. Wendy David, and Michele Malin, the woman who picked Cole out in the lineup, as well as family and friends dedicated the 13 foot bronze statue placed near where the crime happened and facing the law school of Texas Tech. Why there? To remind law students who will someday become future prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges to realize humans are fallible and make mistakes.
Michele Malin after realizing her mistake sought to get Cole’s name cleared and in 2009 another man wrote to Cole and confessed to the rape. By that time Tim Cole had been dead for 10 years. “A victim, just like my son was.” Tim Cole’s mother once told Malin, and we all are with injustice.
Tim Cole’s mother said, “He left here with his head bowed and his arms and legs in shackles. Today he returns standing tall, uncompromised. But not unsung.”
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