Vindicated, an upcoming BET series about people who have unjustly been convicted of crimes, will begin with a two-part episode about Timothy Brian Cole, a Fort Worth man who died in prison before he was exonerated.
BET is presenting the series in a partnership with the The Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing. Most of the episodes will feature stories of exonerees as they attempt to rejoin society.
Fort Worth man's innocence is now on display.
But the two-part premiere will focus on Cole, a military veteran who was a student at Texas Tech when he was wrongfully accused and convicted of rape after the victim misidentified him. He spent 14 years in prison before dying of an asthma attack. Nearly 10 years after his death, DNA evidence cleared him of the crime.
According to Star-Telegram reports on the case, Cole died in 1999, which was four years after another inmate, Jerry Johnson, confessed to the crime. In 2008, DNA tests conducted by the Lubbock District Attorney's office showed that Johnson, who was already serving time in prison on another sexual-assault charge, committed the crime. Cole's family became advocates for legislation to benefit other exonerees. Michele Mallin (whose maiden name was Murray), the rape victim who incorrectly identified Cole, joined Cole's family in lobbying for the legislative reform.
Here is an extended preview of the series.