After 23 Years, One More Wrongfully Convicted Dallas Man Tastes Freedom

Clay Graham

From left to right: James C. Giles, Thomas McGowan, James Waller and Charles Chatman

Clay Graham, a newly minted lawyer with The Innocence Project of Texas, was on hand in the courtroom of Judge Susan Hawk yesterday and snapped photos as Thomas McGowan, wrongfully convicted of burglary and sexual assault, went free after 23 years in prison. McGowan was represented by Jason Kreag, an attorney for the Innocence Project of New York, and Barry Scheck, co-founder of the IPNY.

Seeing McGowan dig into his first post-prison meal -- chicken-fried steak -- was touching. Seeing James Giles, exonerated last year, give McGowan a $100 bill “to get his new life started,” was inspiring. Those photos are after the jump.

But maybe the best picture is the one above -- the one featuring four men wrongfully convicted in Dallas County. They are, from left to right, James C. Giles, exonerated on April 9, 2007; Thomas McGowan, April 16, 2008; James Waller, January 17, 2007; and Charles Chatman, January 3, 2008. --Glenna Whitley

Clay Graham

James Giles gave Thomas McGowan $100, out of his own wallet, to begin his life as a free man after 23 years in prison for crimes he did not commit.

Clay Graham

Thomas McGowan with his attorney, The Innocence Project of New York's Jason Kreag

Clay Graham

Thomas McGowan's first meal as a free man

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky