AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today granted a pardon for innocence to James Lee Woodard after DNA testing proved he did not sexually assault or murder Beverly Ann Jones in 1980. DNA testing was not available at the time the crime was committed.
“James Lee Woodard was wrongfully convicted for a crime he did not commit,” Perry said. “My action today cannot give back the time he spent in prison, but it does end this miscarriage of justice.”
Woodard had been sentenced to life in prison in 1981 for the murder of Jones. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously to recommend the pardon for innocence. Additionally, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and judge of the convicting court Mark Staltz have written letters supporting a pardon for innocence.
Based on DNA evidence connected to the offense, analysts confirmed that the offender committed both the sexual assault and murder, which excluded Woodard.