Thirty-five years is a long time to be incarcerated for a crime you never committed.
But now, after spending almost two-thirds of his life behind bars on a bogus rape rap, James Bain, 54, can focus on freedom and the Florida justice system can concentrate on catching the man who really kidnapped a 9-year-old Lake Wells, Fla., boy and sodomized him in 1974. Bain was released last Thursday, thanks to DNA testing.
"If there's a rapist in our community, we want him removed," said Lake Wales police Capt. Troy Schulze. The next step, he said, will be to see if the DNA evidence matches other samples already in the system. If there is no positive hit on the DNA, authorities must decide whether to reopen the case.
Meanwhile, Bain said he is far too thankful about getting out of prison to be angry. The boy picked him from a lineup of five photos, and Bain was given life.
"I'm not angry. ... I can't be angry because everybody did what they had to do when this occurred," said Bain, who was 19 at the time he was sentenced. "... [I]t's just sad the way the outcome came. But I don't have no bitterness for that."
Bain has spent more time in prison than any of the 245 people in the United States exonerated by DNA testing, according to the Innocence Project, a national organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through such testing.
Under a state law, Bain can collect $50,000 for every year he was in prison, for a total of $1.75 million.