Texas AG says Perry can pardon dead DNA exoneree

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DALLAS (AP) — The Texas attorney general says Gov. Rick Perry can pardon a wrongly convicted man who was cleared of rape after he died in prison.

Attorney General Greg Abbott issued his opinion about posthumous pardons Thursday. It clears the way for Perry to pardon Tim Cole, an Army veteran who died in prison in 1999 at age 39.

Cole had been wrongly convicted of the 1985 rape of a Texas Tech University student. A 2008 DNA test proved his innocence, 13 years after another man confessed in a series of letters to Lubbock County prosecutors and judges.

Cole’s family sought the pardon. Perry, though expressing sympathy, maintained he didn’t believe he was legally permitted to issue one.

Cole’s brother tells The Associated Press that a Perry aide says the governor will pardon Cole.