AUSTIN &mdash For years, James Woodard wrote letter after letter from his prison cell, hoping to convince anyone willing to listen that he was innocent.
Most of his pleas were ignored, but some weren't. Among those who took an interest was Alexis Hoff, a student at Texas Wesleyan School of Law in Fort Worth.
In 2007, Hoff, now Alexis Hoff Allen, was a member of the Wesleyan Innocence Project, composed of law student volunteers who spend hours of their own time investigating possible wrongful convictions.
Working with the Dallas County public defender's office and district attorney's office, the 25-year-old student pored over court records, transcripts and other documents in an exhaustive re-examination of the case. Allen's review ultimately helped lead to DNA testing that cleared Woodard in the 1981 slaying of his girlfriend.
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