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DNA Helps Clear Rape Defendant

January 8, 2000

TYLER, Texas (AP) _ A Texas man who spent 16 years behind bars for a rape and kidnapping conviction has been freed after prosecutors said DNA evidence cleared him.

A.B. Butler, who had been serving a 99-year sentence, was released Friday. Test results prompted the Smith County district attorney’s office to question whether Butler was the assailant in a 1983 attack.

He had been asking for DNA tests since 1991. The 45-year-old said he expected he’d be released.

``I feel good about it, very good, very good about it,″ he said. ``I’ve prayed on this a long time.″

At trial, the victim identified Butler as her assailant and he was convicted. She issued a statement through the authorities saying she believed the conviction was correct but would support the court’s decision.

Smith County authorities have filed a request for Gov. George W. Bush to issue Butler a full pardon. Bush has approved the previous two clemency requests he received based on DNA evidence.

Update hourly