Bobby Ray Dixon of Hattiesburg: The 53-year-old man, who spent 32 years behind bars and is suffering from cancer, said he is glad to be home. He plans to attend a Thursday hearing and hopes to have his name cleared of a crime of which he says he is innocent. (George Clark/Hattiesburg American)
Bobby Ray Dixon of Hattiesburg: The 53-year-old man, who spent 32 years behind bars and is suffering from cancer, said he is glad to be home. He plans to attend a Thursday hearing and hopes to have his name cleared of a crime of which he says he is innocent. (George Clark/Hattiesburg American)

HATTIESBURG — Larry Ruffin spent 23 years behind bars for a rape and murder that DNA shows he did not commit, but he will never walk free from prison.

He died in 2002.

“Every time I think about it, tears come to my eyes,” said Ernestine Arrington, Ruffin’s sister.

The Innocence Project pushed for the DNA tests that ended up clearing not only Ruffin, but Bobby Ray Dixon and Phillip Bivens, also convicted of the May 4, 1979, murder of Eva Gail Patterson in Hattiesburg. DNA from the crime scene matched Andrew Harris, who already is serving a life sentence in Parchman for another rape in Forrest County two years after Patterson’s.

“I want it cleared from the Coast to the Capitol,” she said. “I want everybody to know my son did not do this.”

Read more at: www.clarionledger.com/330437

Courtesy of Jerry Mitchell at The Clarion-Ledger  • jmitchell@clarionledger.com • September 15, 2010