Figure 9: A photo of Kirk Bloodsworth who was the first person to be exonerated from death row by DNA evidence.
Figure 11: An excerpt from the newspaper article about Dawn Hamilton's murder, showing a picture of her.
Figure 13: A photograph of the day Kirk Bloodsworth was exonerated and released from prison on 28 June 1993.
Based on information received from the Center of Wrongful Convictions (Anon., n.d.):
Defendant: Kirk Nobel Bloodsworth
Date of birth: October 31, 1960
Jurisdiction: Baltimore County, Maryland
Date of crime: July 25, 1984
Age at time of crime: 23
Date of arrest: August 7, 1984
Charge: Sexual assault, rape, and first-degree premeditated murder of a child
Sentence: Death (first trial), life (second trial)
Release or exoneration date: June 28, 1993
Time lapse (arrest to release): 3,247 days
Victim(s): Dawn Hamilton
No. of victims: 1
Age(s) of murder victim(s): 9
Gender of victim(s): Female
Race of victim(s): Caucasian
Relationship of victim to defendant: None
Defendant prior felony record: None
Known factors leading to wrongful conviction: Five mistaken eyewitnesses, junk science, withholding of exculpatory evidence by prosecution
Did an appellate court ever affirm conviction? Yes - second conviction affirmed, Bloodsworth v. State, 76 Md. App. 23 (1988).
Exonerated by: Gubernatorial pardon and DNA, which belatedly implicated the actual killer.
Compensation for wrongful imprisonment: $300,000
Compensation per day of wrongful imprisonment: $92.39
A little girl, Dawn Hamilton, aged nine was sexually assaulted, strangled, and beaten to death with a rock on 25 July 1984. At the tim...
... middle of paper ...
Since Kirk Bloodsworth was released, he has become an activist, speaker and supporter of the Innocence Protection Act (IPA) after it was passed in February of 2000. Bloodsworth is also the Advocacy Director of Witness to Innocence which will be the subject of a documentary which is involved in the appeal to the revoking of Maryland’s death penalty.
Kirk Bloodsworth’s case is a subject of the book called Bloodsworth: the True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA written by Tim Junkin. Bloodsworth is also the subject of a documentary: Bloodsworth: An Innocent Man by Gregory Bayne.
This case can be seen as a perfect example of the justice system failure due to several missteps that took place during the investigation as well as the trial and the biggest being that the overlooked Kimberly Shay Ruffner as a suspect. (Hanes, 2004).
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