Innocence Network Helps Free Two Dallas County Men

Research by junior Natalie Ellis, center, through the UT Arlington Innocence Network resulted in the exoneration of Christopher Scott, left, and Claude Simmons, who served 12 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. The two men were released Friday, Oct. 23. The three spoke Monday with other students participating in the Innocence Network.

Two men are expected to be released Friday after spending 12 years in prison for a murder they did not commit, thanks in part to the efforts of the UT Arlington Innocence Network.

Led by UT Arlington professor John Stickels, the student-supported Innocence Network has worked on several cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the past three years. The latest case includes the exoneration of two Dallas County men who were wrongfully convicted of capital murder in a 1997 case and sentenced to life in prison. Unlike the previous 20 Dallas County exonerations, this case is the first cleared without DNA evidence.

“It feels wonderful,” said Natalie Ellis, a criminal justice major, in a Dallas Morning News article. Ellis has worked on the case daily for more than a year. “I’d have to say out of all the days I’ve had in my life so far – this is tops.”

Read the full stories in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram or the Dallas Morning News. You can also watch several television news reports online.

Read the UT Arlington news release.

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