July 4, 2008 in Nation/World

DNA exonerates man after 15 years

The Spokesman-Review
Associated Press photo

Patrick Waller reacts to the announcement that his conviction was being overturned Thursday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

A Texas man who spent more than 15 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of kidnapping and robbery raised both arms skyward and collapsed in his mother’s embrace Thursday after being told he was a free man.

Patrick Waller’s sobs were the only sound at a crowded hearing attended by four other inmates also exonerated by DNA testing.

“It’s all right, honey,” Patricia Cunningham told her son. “It’s over. You’re out of here. You’re going home.”

Waller had been behind bars since 1992 for aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping stemming from the abduction of a Dallas couple. He was proved innocent by DNA testing late last year.

Waller is the 19th man in Dallas County since 2001 shown by DNA evidence to be innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.


President will attend Olympics

The White House confirmed Thursday that President Bush would attend the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies next month, despite human rights concerns that have led to boycotts by his counterparts in Britain and Germany.

The decision, while expected, illustrated the dilemma Bush faced after he promised Chinese President Hu Jintao in September that he would go to Beijing for the games.

China has put huge stock in the quadrennial competition, turning the August athletic celebration into a sort of world-stage validation of its economic growth and its politics.

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