Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Timothy Cole

First Name Timothy
Last NameCole
Year of Conviction1986
Year of Exoneration2009
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionTexas
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
  • Third Party Guilt
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Four friends testified that the defendant was studying for a biology lab at home earlier in the evening, and that they were with him at a small party at the defendant’s apartment the night of the crime.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

Defendant described how he was at home the entire night of the crime, studying and then drinking with friends. “Q. Tim, are you the man who raped [the victim]? A. No, sir, I am not

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Fingerprint
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Vague
  • Valid
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Hairs described as “similar” and fingerprint excluded defendant

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive line-up – Cole’s was the only color photo while the other five photos in the array were black-and-white. Cole was also the only person in the photos who was looking at the camera; the other five fillers were facing to the side. ● Not told that culprit might not be in photo array or line-up ● Cole repeated from photo array to line-up

Quotes from testimony #1

Victim testified at trial that when first presented with the photo array, "They asked me if I could pick him out of there, if any of them were him.” She assumed at the line-up as well that officers believed they ahd a suspect in the line-up. The police had called and “they said they had found a suspect.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initially uncertain ● Disrepancies in description included height and failure to note scarring across back

Quotes from testimony #2

When first shown the photo array, the victim was not positive, until prompted by detectives: “I said, I think that is him.” Q. And what did they reply after you said that? A. They said: ‘Are you positive?’ and I said: ‘Yes, I am positive that is him.’”

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jury Instructions
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Citations to judicial opinions

Cole v. State, 735 S.W.2d 686 (Tex. App.‐Amarillo,1987)
Cole v. State, 839 S.W.2d 798 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990)

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