La. death row inmate cleared by DNA
NEW ORLEANS - A 38-year-old man wrongly convicted of raping and killing his step-cousin in 1997 was released Friday from Louisiana's death row after DNA tests found him to be innocent.
Pam Laborde, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Corrections, said Damon Thibodeaux was released at about 12:30 p.m. after spending 15 years on death row.
Thibodeaux was sentenced to death by lethal injection for raping, beating and strangling his step-cousin, Crystal Champagne.
Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, said Jefferson Parish prosecutors and Thibodeaux's defense lawyers worked together to analyze the evidence against Thibodeaux and concluded that Thibodeaux made a false confession.
He said Thibodeaux was the 18th death row inmate in the United States to be exonerated by DNA.