DNA tests mean Bain could be released Thursday in 1974 Polk County rape case
By Meg Laughlin, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Attorneys for the Innocence Project of Florida said Tuesday that they will request the release of James Bain at a hearing Thursday.
Bain has spent 35 years in prison for the rape of a Polk County child that new DNA results show he did not commit.
"We're happy to report that we're working well with the public defender and the Innocence Project of Florida to do what's appropriate," said Polk County Assistant State Attorney Chip Thullbery.
Bain is being moved from the Okeechobee Correctional Institution to the Polk County Jail for the hearing.
"We are pleased that the state has acted so diligently in working with the public defender and the Innocence Project of Florida to make sure James Bain gets home before Christmas," said Innocence Project executive director Seth Miller.
If all goes as expected, Bain should be released with conditions by Thursday afternoon. The terms of Bain's possible release are still unclear.
In 1974 in Lake Wales, a 9-year-old boy was lifted out of his bed while sleeping. He was taken by a man he described as "17 or 18 ... with bushy sideburns who said his name was Jim" to a nearby baseball diamond where he was raped. When he returned home and described the rapist to his uncle, his uncle commented that it sounded like "Jimmy Bain."
Upon hearing of the DNA results and the upcoming hearing, Bain's 1974 prosecutor Ed Threadgill said this: "It appears a terrible injustice has been done. It's too bad we didn't have DNA testing back then. It would have saved a lot of people a lot of misery."
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story.