DNA frees another man wrongly convicted in Dallas

DALLAS — As his attorney cut off his leg monitor, Steven Phillips' 25-year nightmare of being imprisoned or constantly monitored by authorities for crimes he didn't commit came to an end.

Phillips, 50, became the latest in a growing number of Dallas County men cleared by DNA evidence. He was convicted in 1982 and 1983 for sexual assault and burglary. Additional testing linked the crimes to another man.

"What a great day!" Phillips said in a Dallas courtroom as his family looked on and quietly said prayers of thanks. "Today is the day the Lord has made."

DNA testing cleared Phillips last fall of the crimes he was convicted of committing, and he has been out on parole since December. Phillips spent 25 years in prison and was wearing the leg monitor as a condition of his release.

But additional investigation by the Dallas County District Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit to ultimately clear Phillips of nine other charges took additional time. Phillips had pleaded guilty to those charges to avoid getting a life sentence.

Dallas County State District Judge Lena Levario ruled that Phillips record be cleared. It will now be up to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal court, to rule on Levario's recommendation.

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