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63-year-old man exonerated for 4 wrongful convictions in 1981, released from prison

11Alive News Primetime

LAGRANGE, Ga. — The Georgia Innocence Project, together with Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herb Cranford Jr., has been able to secure the exoneration of a 63-year-old man for four separate wrongful convictions for a series of violent sexual assaults in LaGrange, Ga., in 1981.

Terry Talley walked out of Dooly State Prison on Feb. 23, 2021, marking the end of more than a decade of work by the Georgia Innocence Project on his behalf. For the past several years, their efforts included collaborations with the LaGrange Police Department

“Today is such a blessing. Words can’t describe how it feels to finally be free after all these years,” Talley said on the day he was freed, according to a statement.  “I’m so thankful for my family, who kept me going all this time, and for the Georgia Innocence Project, who never gave up.”

The crimes that Talley was wrongfully convicted for occurred between February 1981 and the end of June 1981. During that timeframe, five violent sexual assaults took place on, and near the LaGrange College campus: two in February, one in April, and two in June. 

According to a release from the Georgia Innocence Project, four of the victims were white women, and the fifth was a Black woman. They said that similarities in the attacks led investigators to believe the assaults were committed by a single, Black male perpetrator.

Around the same time, the release said, several female LaGrange College students had filed complaints regarding inappropriate and threatening behavior by a Black male city employee who was frequently on campus.

As part of their investigation, police found gloves at the crime scene that appeared to be the same as those worn by the city employee that the complaints had been made against. According to the GIP, the employee was eventually suspended and fired for misconduct. Read more –>