Feb. 12, 2013 Associated Press
CORSICANA, Texas (AP) — A 58-year-old Texas man walked free Monday after serving years for a crime he didn't commit — the repeated stabbing of a woman whose body was found on a dirt road in rural North Texas.
Randolph Arledge was sentenced to 99 years in prison in 1984 for killing Carolyn Armstrong. But a state district judge in Corsicana, about 50 miles southeast of Dallas, agreed with prosecutors and Arledge's attorneys that he could no longer be considered guilty after new DNA tests tied someone else to the crime.
Judge James Lagomarsino agreed to release Arledge on bond while the process of overturning his conviction is pending. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals must accept Lagomarsino's recommendation for the conviction to be formally overturned, a process that is considered a formality.
Arledge wore shackles around his wrists and ankles at the start of the hearing, but was later taken into a back room by two deputies to have them removed. When he returned, Arledge hugged his two children. His daughter was 4 years old and his son 7 when he was sent to prison.
"They suffered more than anybody," Arledge told reporters afterward. He gestured to his daughter, Randa Machelle Arledge. "She's always talking about, she wanted me to come pick her up from school. Now she's picking me up."
His children said they remained hopeful through the years, not doubting his innocence.