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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DNA sample identifies attacker from 1985 rape case

DALLAS — A DNA sample that freed a wrongly convicted man who spent nearly 23 years behind bars implicated another man already in prison who has confessed to the crime, Dallas County prosecutors said Tuesday.DNA evidence collected after the 1985 rape of a Richardson woman matches convicted felon Kenneth Wayne Woodson, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office said. Thomas McGowan was originally convicted of the crime and served nearly 23 years in prison before being released in April."The truth is out there. There's no more doubt about anything," McGowan told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Woodson will not be charged because the five-year statute of limitations has expired, said Mike Ware, who heads the Conviction Integrity Unit in the DA's office.

Woodson was convicted in a separate case of aggravated sexual assault after a 1986 rape and burglary and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He served 20 years before being paroled in January 2006.

Fourteen months after being paroled, Woodson robbed a bank in Richardson, prosecutors said. His parole was revoked and he was sent back to prison to serve out the remaining 10 years on his original sentence, along with a concurrent 10-year sentence for the bank robbery.

The match to Woodson came by running the DNA evidence taken from the rape through a national database of DNA profiles of convicted sex offenders. Last Wednesday, a county investigator and a Richardson police officer traveled to a state prison in Brownfield to collect a cheek swab from Woodson.

Woodson confessed after learning that his DNA profile matched the DNA evidence taken from the sexual assault, prosecutors said. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said his office has notified the Board of Pardons and Paroles "so that they can take this offense into consideration when making future parole decisions."[Mark Godsey]

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