A state district judge in Jefferson Parish has thrown out an aggravated rape conviction that has kept a man behind bars for nearly 30 years for a crime he didn't commit.

Jené O'Keefe Trigg, managing director of The Innocence Project New Orleans, says Henry James is expected to walk out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola on Friday.

James, now 50, was convicted and sentenced to life without parole on May 7, 1982. Trigg says her office sought DNA testing of the rape kit, but initial searches for the evidence proved fruitless. In May 2010, a lab worker stumbled upon a slide from James' case and testing later excluded James as the perpetrator in the rape.

District Judge Henry G. Sullivan signed the order vacating the conviction late Thursday.