Damon Thibodeaux just became the 141st person to be exonerated from death row
Damon Thibodeaux was exonerated with DNA from a Louisiana after 15 years in solitary confinement.
Thibodeaux was sentenced to death for the 1996 rape and murder of his cousin. He at first confessed to the attack after a nine-hour interrogation by police. Just a few hours later he recanted the confession.
The District attorney in Thibodeaux's case cooperated with an extensive investigation, which included numerous rounds of DNA testing excluding him as the person responsible. A prosecution expert analyzing Thibodeaux’s interrogation concluded that he falsely confessed to the crime largely out of fear that he would be executed.
Thibodeaux is the 141st person to be exonerated and freed from death row since 1973, and the 18th person released through DNA evidence.
Barry Scheck, a founder of the Innocence Project, said, “The 300th exoneration is an extraordinary event, and it couldn’t be more fitting that it’s an innocent man on death row who gave a false confession. People have a very hard time with the concept that an innocent person could confess to a crime that they didn’t commit. But it happens a lot. It’s the ultimate risk that an innocent man could be executed.”