Innocence Project of Texas now permanent sit-in - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Innocence Project of Texas now permanent sit-in during City Council meetings until questions are answered

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Innocence Project of Texas says it will sit in on upcoming City Council meetings until the City of Lubbock answers its questions about the Timothy Cole case.

Monday night, the family of Cole, who was wrongfully convicted of a 1985 rape, joined in a meeting with the Innocence Project to raise awareness about their quest for answers from the city.

Cole died in prison in 1999, but it wasn't until this past March the Governor Perry officially pardoned him. That was after DNA testing proved his innocence.

Now the family and the victim want to know what went wrong with the investigation.

Monday night was the 25th anniversary to the day where Michele Mallin was abducted from the St. John United Methodist Church parking lot and raped. Mallin spoke for the first time in Lubbock since the wrongful conviction, something she hopes will bring justice to Tim Cole's case and pressure the city for answers.

"If people don't stand up and say something, sometimes it's going to take a large group like that to get things done, then nothing is ever going to change. It's just going to be business as usual and 25 years from now it's going to be the same things happening," said rape victim, Michele Mallin.

The Innocence Project, Tim Cole's family and Michele Mallin say Monday night's meeting went extremely well and the house was packed. The only empty seats were those reserved for current city council members, invited to share the city's side of why Cole was wrongfully convicted. Councilman Victor Hernandez was the only one to show up.

"We were opened minded that they would all show up, but disappointed that only one showed up. Very courageous and we appreciate councilman Hernandez showing up," said Timothy Cole's brother, Corey Sessions.

In 2008 Mallin and Timothy Cole's family met for the first time, creating what they say is a binding relationship and together they say they're searching for justice from the city of Lubbock

"They are just absolutely just wonderful people and I would do anything for them especially if it helps to get change in Lubbock so that this doesn't happen to any more Timothy Coles," said Mallin.

After taking the case to the people, a three part resolution was adopted to present to city council at their next meeting, asking for a public hearing before a fair judge to decide what happened in the Cole case that ended in a wrongful conviction, and what the city of Lubbock should do to repair the damage.

"If I can do anything to rectify the situation I want to do it. I'm not a bad person I never did this intentionally. I did everything I could to bring the right person to justice," said Mallin.

Now going forward the Innocence Project of Texas said they are in for a long term campaign to educate the public and to get answers from the city. We asked for victor Hernandez to comment on last nights meeting but he did not respond.

City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld wrote in a public statement that city employees from the time of Cole's wrongful conviction no longer work for the city. Tim's mother Ruby was present as well as the rape victim, Michele Mallin.

Audience at Monday's meeting adopted the following resolution:

We the people assembled together on the 18th of October 2010 at St. John's United Methodist Church in Lubbock do hereby resolve

1. That the arrest, trial, and conviction of Timothy Cole by authorities of Lubbock, Texas was wrongful, false, and a tragic miscarriage of justice.

2. That the city of Lubbock should submit to a binding arbitration before a fair judge held in public which should decide:

A. What the city of Lubbock and its' officers did to cause this tragedy and

B. What the city of Lubbock should do to repair the damages to Tim Cole, Michele Mallin, and the people of Lubbock, and the state of Texas.

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