A former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer who was sentenced to life in prison after being accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1994 was exonerated on Friday, according to several reports.
Brian Franklin was exonerated after spending 21 years in prison. He was released in May when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted him a new trial, which ended after less than two hours on Friday with a “not guilty” verdict, according to Fox 4.
Franklin got a new trial when the court ruled he was denied due process after it was discovered that his alleged victim lied under oath, according to CBSDFW. In 2014, the woman who accused Franklin of raping her allegedly said that she lied about part of her testimony against him in 1995, but maintained he was still guilty.
“She admitted that she lied before about her stepfather’s sexual abuse but maintained that Franklin had sexually assaulted her,” Franklin’s defense attorney Neal Davis told the Star-Telegram. “We maintained that just because you maintain a lie over a period of decades does not make it true.”
The stepfather of Franklin’s accuser was later sentenced to 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to injury to a child as part of a plea arrangement, according to the Star-Telegram. He died in March.
“I knew it was going to come,” Franklin said, according to Fox 4. “I wasn’t surprised. … I had the trifecta against me: I was an innocent man, I was a former police officer and I was accused of raping a child.”
According to Fox 4, the accuser’s stepbrother came forward about 10 years ago, and told authorities his stepsister told him she made up her story. And because the Tarrant County prosecutors had no DNA evidence linking Franklin to the rape, they only relied on the accuser’s testimony.
Franklin told Fox 4 he was angry but said he is channeling his frustration to help others who were wrongfully convicted.
“I’m not the first and I probably won’t be the last,” he said. “When the system makes mistakes, they need to admit it.”