35 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit?

December 11th, 2009 by

Bartow, Florida – The year was 1974. Richard Nixon left office in disgrace, Hank Aaron made history surpassing Babe Ruth’s home run record and 19-year-old James Bain was sent to prison for raping a 9-year-old in Polk County.

His sister Jacqueline gets emotional thinking about what happened to her younger brother, as does most of the family. Bain’s twin sister Janie was watching TV with him when the police came and said they needed to talk to the teenager downtown. She says when he left that night, she waited and waited and he didn’t come back.

Bain’s mother, Betty Reed says she always believed in her son’s innocence, but it wasn’t until the Innocence Project of Florida was able to get a court-ordered DNA that authorities started to believe they might have the wrong man.

Polk State Attorney Jerry Hill wants to run another DNA test before he is convinced, but Florida Innocence Project director Seth Miller says Bain should be released immediately. Miller says the DNA results are slam dunk for innocence.

Hill admits he did everything he could to keep Bain in prison, but he says if he can be convinced that Bain is innocent, he will do everything he can to get him out.

“The last thing we want is an innocent person behind bars,” Hill says.

Miller says he hopes to get Bain home with his family before Christmas.

Of the 245 people in the United States exonerated by DNA evidence since 1989, not one has spent as much time in prison as James Bain.

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