Johnnie Earl Lindsey was ecstatic after he walked out of a Dallas, Texas courtroom Friday after serving 26 years on a rape conviction. Lindsey, now 56, had been convicted based on erroneous eye witness identification.
Lindsey was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1981. DNA tests eventually proved that he was not the suspect in the crime.
Lindsey thanked and shook the hand of District Judge Larry Mitchell before turning to the crowd in the courtroom and introducing his son, Johnnie Cooper, who was less than one year old when his father was sentenced behind bars.
Witnesses said that Cooper, who was sitting in the back of the courtroom after the announcement, did not speak, but tears ran down his face as he looked at Lindsey.
Lindsey hugged him and whispered, “It’s going to be all right.”
Lindsey told The Dallas Morning News that he had long denied raping the woman who accused him, even after he was convicted and sentenced to life. The woman picked out Lindsey’s picture from a six-person photo lineup that Dallas police mailed to her a year after the attack.
Lindsey said now that he is free, he plans to help other wrongly convicted people.
“I’m going to try my best to help those who are left behind to see that they see justice, too.”