updated 3/21/2006 9:48:43 AM ET 2006-03-21T14:48:43

A man who spent 18 years behind bars for allegedly attacking a woman in her home has been released after DNA testing excluded him as the attacker.

“I don’t know how to apologize. I don’t know where to start, but I’ll start with me and ‘I’m sorry,”’ District Judge John Creuzot said Monday as he released Gregory Wallis, now 47. Creuzot was not involved in the original trial.

Wallis was a 29-year-old warehouse worker when he was convicted in 1988 of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The case was closed until Willis’ 2004 request for post-conviction DNA analysis led to tests that found his didn’t match the DNA from the crime scene.

The victim had picked Wallis’ photo out of a lineup after police received a tip that he was involved. She described her attacker as having a tattoo, similar to one Wallis had.

“I don’t know how she picked me,” Wallis said. “I was sitting at home, and they came and arrested me. The next thing I know, I’m standing trial.”

An initial test released in December could not entirely exclude Wallis as a suspect. His lawyer then requested a newer and more sophisticated test, which found no match with Wallis’ DNA.

Like others wrongly convicted in Texas, Wallis is eligible for up to $250,000 in compensation for the years he spent behind bars. He said he was he looking forward to enjoying a steak dinner and going fishing.

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