DALLAS (NBC) - Trapped behind bars for three decades, Cornelius Dupree Jr. spent more of his life in prison than out. Last summer, a DNA test proved his innocence in his 1979 conviction for rape and robbery.
"I filed writs, I wrote numerous letters, to people all over the state trying to prove my point, prove my case," Dupree said.
One of those letters got to the Innocence Project, and the process of clearing Dupree's name began.
This has been the longest wrongful conviction in Texas history. It was an exciting day for Dupree and his new wife, Selma, but the couple admits, the day is bittersweet.
"It is a wonderful thing to have him home. One of the things that we all have to understand is that this could happen to anyone," said Selma Perkins Dupree. She said changes in the law need to be made, but for right now, she wants to focus on her future.
"I just thank God for this day and that we can move on with our lives," she said.
District Attorney Craig Watkins says he plans to take all the exoneration cases to lawmakers in Austin, TX. He said lawmakers need to see that mistakes are being made, and they need to be addressed quickly.
Forty-one people in Texas have been exonerated since 2001.
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