DALLAS — When Michael Blair was sent to death row for the infamous murder of a 7-year-old Texas girl, he insisted he never killed anyone. More than a decade later, genetic testing showed he was telling the truth.
But during those long years behind bars, Blair did something else that ensured he would never leave prison: He confessed to raping two other children — a crime for which he’s serving multiple life sentences.
Blair hasn’t forgotten the murder case, and now he’s made an unlikely demand, asking the state for nearly $1 million as compensation for being wrongfully convicted. His request has gone all the way to the Texas Supreme Court and is forcing a re-examination of laws designed to offer exonerated inmates a new start.
“He doesn’t deserve a nickel of it,” said Cory Session, whose brother, Tim Cole, was wrongfully imprisoned and had his name attached to the Texas law.
Blair “didn’t deserve to be on death row for that crime, and we’ve proven that,” Session said. “But he also doesn’t deserve to receive compensation under the Tim Cole Act. He will soil my brother’s name and memory.”
The state comptroller has repeatedly denied Blair’s claim, which a state attorney recently called “absurd.” But if the court rules in his favor, the comptroller could be required to pay him $80,000 for each year he was locked up for the murder.