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Tennessee governor exonerates man in 1978 rape conviction

Associated Press • Updated Dec 20, 2017 at 2:44 PM

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he has exonerated a man whose convictions for rape and robbery were set aside by a court in 2009 and who was released after more than three decades in prison.

Haslam said in a news release Wednesday that he respects determinations by the court and prosecutor that Lawrence McKinney was not guilty of crimes he was convicted for in 1978 and wouldn’t have been prosecuted if DNA testing results were available during his trial.

Last year, a Tennessee parole board voted against recommending McKinney for exoneration, saying the absence of his DNA following a rape was not conclusive evidence of innocence.

McKinney had been accused of rape and burglary in 1977 in Memphis.

His exoneration makes him eligible for compensation of up to $1 million.

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