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Spared from the death chamber

Kirk Bloodsworth was charged with the killing and sexual assault of a nine year old girl and served on death row for eight years before he was cleared by DNA evidence as part of the Innocence Project. He was the first person on death row to be exonerated through postconviction DNA testing. His story:

The victim was found dead in July of 1984. She had been strangled, raped, and beaten with a rock. Bloodsworth was arrested based on an anonymous call telling police that he was seen with the victim that day and an identification made by a witness from a police sketch that was based on the recollections of five eyewitnesses. At trial, all five witnesses testified that they had seen Bloodsworth with the victim. Also presented at trial was testimony that Bloodsworth had said that he had done something terrible that day that would affect his relationship with his wife. Additionally, he mentioned a bloody rock during the investigation. A shoe impression found near the victim matched his size.

This evidence was challenged in Bloodsworth’s appeals, which asserted that the bloody rock was mentioned because the police showed him a rock during the interrogation. The incident he mentioned regarding his wife amounted to his failure to buy the food she had requested. Moreover, the police failed to inform the defense that there may have been another suspect. Bloodsworth’s conviction was overturned by the appellate court and he was retried. This time, he was convicted and sentenced to two life terms, to run consecutively.

In 1992, the prosecution agreed to DNA testing to be performed by Forensic Science Associates. The victim’s shorts and underwear, a stick found at the scene, and an autopsy slide were compared against the blood standards of the victim and Bloodsworth. Using PCR based DNA testing, FSA determined that the amount of spermatozoa on the slide was insufficient for testing. Testing on the panties excluded Bloodsworth. Replicate testing performed by the FBI yielded the same results.

Blogger Jay Lassiter of Lassiter’s Space and has an opportunity to sit down with Bloodworth, and and make the case why the death penalty moratorium is necessary, and that working to its abolishment is equally essential. He plans to post the interview as a podcast on the to rally public support against the death penalty.

There is a request Jay has for Blenders and it’s a question of the day:

What would you ask Kirk Bloodsworth about his experience?

You can post your questions here or over at Jay’s place.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding