Tim Cole's legacy of courage and honor will carry on. It's a relief for Cole's family. His story will be etched into history with a permanent monument.
Cole has received recognition from the President, the State, and now Lubbock will recognize him with a memorial. However, not all City Council members came to an agreement.
Cole's brother Cory Session said, "He was living the American dream, but unfortunately he lived the American nightmare."
Session made a trip to Lubbock to ask Council for the monument."To have his name recognized in the City of Lubbock is most important to our family," he said.
Cole was a student at Texas Tech when he was convicted of raping fellow student Michele Mallin. Cole refused to plead guilty. He was given a 25 year sentence.
"This is a story of a man who once wrote from prison, I still believe in the justice system even though it doesn't believe in me," Session said.
In 1999, Cole died in prison from medical causes. Inmate Jerry Wayne Johnson had long been claiming responsibility for the crime, but now his claims were taken seriously. In 2008, Michele Mallin testified she had incorrectly identified Cole. At the time Lubbock Prosecutor, Jim Bob Darnell had saved the evidence. A DNA test revealed Cole was not involved. In 2009, Cole's conviction was overturned by an Austin judge. Governor Rick Perry signed an order in 2010 pardoning Cole, making him the first Texas inmate to be pardoned after his death.
"We are very pleased they want to move forward," Session said. It is also a step in the right direction, but keep in mind we have a long way to go."
The granite monument would be created by local artist Eddie Dixon. It will cost about $25,000. Local Attorney Kevin Glasheen will pick up the tab. Glasheen is no stranger to Cole's case.
"Tim is worthy to be honored because of his courage and his faith," he said. Tim was offered probation, to a crime he didn't commit, and he turned it down."
Only one City Councilman, Victor Hernandez, voted against the resolution. He blamed another Councilman for adding a restriction.
"It had to do with the "friendly amendment" proposed by Councilman Bean. His friendly amendment which was adopted, was to make that area a city park," he said.
Hernandez adds there is a process Council will have to go through to turn this land into a park. He said he is uncertain when that will happen, it could take time.