DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — After spending 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Michael Phillips will finally be exonerated on Friday morning in Dallas.
Phillips, 57, pleaded guilty to the 1990 rape of a 16-year-old girl at a Dallas motel. He served his 12-year sentence and was released from prison in 2002.
Phillips says he pleaded guilty at the advisement of his attorney, who didn’t believe a jury would clear a black man accused of raping a white teenager.
His innocence was proven after an untested rape kit matched another resident of the motel — Lee Marvin Banks.
The test is part of a push by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins to test old rape kits — even when the defendant doesn’t request it. Phillips never requested the test.
Phillips, who has always maintained his innocence, suffers from sickle cell anemia and is now bound to a wheelchair.
“I never imagined I would live to see my name cleared. Six of my sibling died from the same disease, so I thank God for sustaining me in prison. I always told everyone I was innocent and now people will finally believe me,” said Phillips.
Phillips currently lives in a nursing home, but that could soon change.
Exonerees in Texas are entitled to $80,000 a year for each year of a wrongful conviction.
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