AUSTIN (KXAN) - A man locked in the Del Valle jail on an unrelated charge has been linked by DNA to a 2007 sexual assault that happened in Austin.
In an arrest warrant affidavit released Wednesday, Austin police charged Billie Lockard Jr., 52, with first-degree sexual assault based on a match from a DNA database.
In the incident that occurred June 14, 2007, a woman told police she was taking the bus home when she got off at a stop to look for a place to use the bathroom. Then, a man stopped and asked her if she needed a ride. She accepted, and asked the man to take her to the nearby gas station.
After the victim used the bathroom, police said Lockard offered the woman a ride home, but instead drove her to a dirt road located off of the 5100 block of Johnny Morris Road.
When the woman realized what was happening, she attempted to escape. But the affidavit said Lockard threatened to "slit her throat" with a pocketknife if she left and then sexually assaulted her in the car.
After the attack, Lockard let the woman go and drove away, the affidavit said.
A DNA database search known as the Combined DNA Database Index Search, also known as CODIS, was taken in December and identified a match between DNA taken from the 2007 incident and the DNA profile of Lockard, a Del Valle Correctional Facility inmate.
"So in this case perhaps this defendant was arrested four years later and his DNA was uploaded into CODIS and boom he was matched," said Torie Camp, with The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.
Last month, the Austin Police Department Forensics Lab found that Lockard's DNA was a match to the 2007 case.
DNA matches have been in the news recently in Texas -- not just for solving cold cases but also for freeing those wrongfully accused.
According the Innocence Project, nearly 300 people have been exonerated thanks to DNA testing.
Most of those were men, and the vast majority were minorities.
Unfortunately, many had already spent a lot of time in prison -- on average 13 years. And 17 people were sentenced to death before DNA proved their innocence.
Texas has had the most DNA exonerations of any state: 44.
One of those cases was that of Michael Morton, proven innocent late last year following five years of legal battles and almost one-quarter of a century in prison for the wrongful conviction of killing his wife.
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Michael Morton's story
In the eight months since his release from prison after DNA proved he did not kill his wife in 1986, Michael Morton has reunited with the son from whom he was estranged for years and became a grandfather.
"I hope she never discovers that I have a credit card," Morton laughed in a late March interview with KXAN. "She can't even talk and she's got me wrapped around her little finger. She's beautiful, she's precious. She's, you know, she's perfect."
Her name is Christine Marie, after her grandmother, Christine, who was murdered in the couple's home in 1986.
Michael Morton was wrongly convicted for the crime the following year and sentenced to life in prison.
Morton became a free man on Oct. 4, walking out of the Georgetown courthouse after 25 years behind bars.
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