Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MD - How Kirk Bloodsworth, wrongfully convicted for a crime he didn't commit, escaped death row

Death chamber
Original Article


Kirk Bloodsworth spent two years on death row and lost a decade of his life after being wrongfully convicted and jailed for a crime he didn't commit.

The former US marine had, in just eight months, gone from an average citizen with a job and new wife to being found guilty of the brutal rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl and sentenced to death.

Despite having an alibi and not matching the police sketch issued at the time, prosecutors were determined to prove he was the man who had taken the life of an innocent girl.

Dawn Hamilton was found naked from the waist down in woodland near her Maryland home in 1984 in a crime which shocked America. She had been raped, beaten and killed.

"Witnesses described someone tall, with curly hair, a bushy moustache and tanned skin," Mr Bloodsworth said.

"I had hair as red as an apple and couldn't tan."

He remembers the shock he felt when he was arrested and how he turned around to look for someone else when police said "that's him" as he was put in handcuffs.

He also remembers the anger and disbelief he found after he was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to death in Baltimore County, Maryland, the following year.

It would take almost 10 years and DNA evidence to secure his innocence and freedom.

But it wasn't until 2003 that the taunts of being a child killer finally stopped and the real offender was charged with the crime.

Speaking exclusively to from his Maryland home, Mr Bloodsworth said he can still hear the prison doors shut if he thinks hard enough and gets chills whenever he hears metal keys jiggle.

He said he tries to put it into words what he felt when he was told he was going to die, and just can't describe it.

"I guess it's like a doctor telling you you're going to die from cancer and nine years later saying 'sorry we've made a bad mistake'," he said.

The real green mile

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