LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On the 10th anniversary of his death, Texas Tech University remembers Timothy Cole. Cole died in prison after he was wrongly convicted of rape. Cole was honored at Texas Tech with a gift that will ensure his name lives on.
Cole was a Fort Worth native and studying business at Texas Tech in 1985, when he was sent to prison. He served 14 years, then died from complications of asthma.
In February, he was exonerated by DNA evidence.
On December 2nd, 1999 Cole died in prison. "The Chaplin called saying Timothy Cole had died my mother said they killed him, meaning the state of Texas," said Cole's broth Cory Session.
On Wednesday, the anniversary of his death and 10 years later, the Texas Tech Law School started a scholarship in memory of Cole's name. "He always thought he would make a contribution to society but not in this matter, so he would be proud, it means a lot to the whole family," said Cole's mother Ruby Session.
The $100,000 endowment includes funds from attorneys Jeff Blackburn of the Innocence Project of Texas, and Kevin Glasheen of Lubbock, who has represented some wrongly convicted. "It's not just saying thanks, it is a way of recognizing what Texas Tech has become in terms of the overall movement for justice in this state," said Blackburn.
"They have taken a terrible tragedy and worked as hard as they can to make something positive come out of it in every way possible and I admire them for that," said Glasheen.
"Whoever is the first recipient of this would lead as he did with courage and conviction in whatever field of law that they choose to pursue," said Cory Session.
In 1985, Cole was a Texas Tech student when he was convicted of rape. He was offered probation if he pleaded guilty, but he refused to admit to something he didn't do. "He was a man of integrity, he had character, Tim would give you the shirt off of his back," said Ruby Session.
James Giles was sent to prison in 1983 for a rape he didn't commit. "I understand exactly what he went through and I endured 10 years in TDC and I was lucky enough and thank God, I made it out," said Giles.
Giles had to register as a sex offender for 14 years before he was exonerated, and over the years has continued to support Cole. "He helped us get compensation because of what happened to him in prison," said Giles.
Cole's family continues to share his story. "The world is definitely not a better place without having him if you would have had a chance to meet him, you would see what a wonderful person he really was," said Cole's brother Shaun Session.
"His legacy will affect people in a positive way and any time someone wants to listen and hear about Tim Cole we're more than welcome to oblige," said Cory Session.
Though Cole was exonerated in February, the family is still waiting for a pardon from the governor.
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