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Michael Phillips has been spending most of his time these days living in a tiny room in a no-frills northeast Dallas nursing home.Until recently, he had a roommate who slept in a bed 2 feet away, and staff brought him three square meals a day.

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Only a few hours passed each day in which he didn't think about his burden of four decades: being a convicted sex offender.That was before Friday,

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when Phillips was officially exonerated by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins' Conviction Integrity Unit, which determined via DNA testing that he was falsely convicted. The state will now pay him handsomely for its mistake.

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It was a first-of-its-kind exoneration in that Phillips wasn't clamoring for vindication. As was the case when he accepted a plea deal in 1990, he felt that his race would preclude him from getting a fair shake in the justice system, so he just accepted his plight.After entering hisplea,

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Phillips, a 57-year-old African-American who grew up in New Orleans, served 12 years in a Texas prison for the rape of a 16-year-old white girl at a Dallas motel where he'd worked as a maintenance man.Confined to a wheelchair due to his battle with sickle cell anemia, Phillips has been out of jail since 2002. He has been living in nursing homes the past few years as his health has spiraled downward.

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Though he's been out of prison for 12 years, he considers his life one long sentence, as he was forced to wear the branding of a convicted sex offender.

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In his first week as a free man, Phillips is overjoyed and struggles to put his emotions into words, instead pointing to the spirituality that helped him cope all these years."A-W-E doesn't describe the feeling.

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I don't know if they got a word that describes how I feel. To have a leash taken off my neck and off my ankle, I know how my ancestors felt when they got free,"

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he said.Falsely AccusedAccording to the Dallas Police Department report from September 28, 1990,

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the victim was awakened by a man wearing a black and white ski mask.While struggling with the man and biting his hand several times,

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the victim told police, she pulled up her assailant's mask and recognized him as Phillips, a man she had seen living at the motel.The following month,

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detectives showed the victim a six-picture lineup, and she again identified Phillips as the man who raped her.(The Dallas Police Department no longer presents photos side by side,

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because the district attorney's office says it suggests that the perpetrator must be present and compels the victim to pick one.)It didn't help that Phillips had a record.

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In an interview with CNN, Phillips acknowledged committing a home burglary when he was 19."Being young and foolish, there were things you do that were juvenile,"

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he said.But at 32, he was trying to make an honest living and was shocked to hear that he was being charged with a rape that he hadn't committed.

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He feels that the prior burglary conviction and a "broken criminal justice system" were to blame for the bad advice he got next."The first paid public defender came in there and said, '

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Mr. Phillips, the DA went back and saw that you just got out of prison a couple of years ago, so they want to lock you up for 99 years.' He thought he was doing me a favor. He said, '

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You could get life, so you are going to take this 99 years.' "

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godisd, 8/1/2014 12:39:32 AM
Hey Girl - We were losing together at the same time...actually I think you lost most of your weight right before me and then I read your inspirational logs and followed in your footsteps, dropped 25lbs and go to my goal weight. Looks like we both creeped back up there when we weren't logging! Would love to join a group with you and we can help each other get back to our goals!!!! We CAN do this as we both did it before and know what needs to be done! My goal is to have my hottest body EVER by my 40th birthday next year :)
sherri71, 8/24/2010 10:13:18 PM
hi girl, good to see you working away : )
sluttony, 1/6/2010 2:05:44 AM
Come join "fleur83's group"
fleur83, 4/15/2009 4:15:17 PM
Hi Jdoogle, Thank you - to tone yourself.. i recommend lots of cardio, thats really the only thing that will melt the fat off. I danced a lot during the time I was losing weight.

Hi Dinkem, I'll send you an invite to one of my groups.
fleur83, 4/15/2009 3:16:50 PM
Fleur, I am currently at 134 lbs with a goal of 110. I want to be toned and fit when I reach that goal. I see that you are in a group for previous spotlight members. I have not been in a spotlight but would love to join a team with you to see if I can use your logs as an example and possibly reach my goal faster with your help! Thanks.

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dinkem, 4/10/2009 12:57:04 PM
Hi. First off, congrats! I was wondering how you toned yourself because I've definitely lost weight but I need to tone myself so I look like I did. Thanks
jdoodle, 3/26/2009 2:14:00 PM
way to go girl - great on your weight loss and dancing your butt off with salsa etc.!
mStudios, 10/25/2007 12:04:46 AM
HI!! congrats on your weight loss!! you look incredible!! i was just checking out your profile- what is "intuitive eating?" do you just evaluate your hunger and eat accordingly? or, is this some special lingo? thanks so much!!! enjoy your trip!
jojomer, 10/21/2007 11:32:44 PM
Hi Fleur, this is Tiffany Rafasgrl79 from turbo jam. Haven't been on in a long time due to so much going on. Looks lik eyou're doing wonderful! Wanted to congratulate you for staying on here and staying true! Any good groups to join?
rafsgrl79, 8/26/2007 11:21:53 AM
82 Items Found | Page 1 of 9