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Kirk Bloodsworth
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    (1961- )
    Grew up in the Baltimore area
    Charged in 1984 of brutally raping and killing a 9-year-old girl outside Baltimore
    Convicted in 1985 of sexual assault, rape, and first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced to death
    Retried in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison without possible parole
    Cleared of all charges in 1992 based upon DNA evidence
    Became the first American sentenced to death row exonerated by DNA fingerprinting
    Subject of the 2004 Tim Junkin book 'Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA'
    His last name certainly didn't do him any favors during his ordeal.
    To cloud the issue further, his middle name is Noble.
    While five witnesses stated they saw him with the victim, he maintained his innocence.
    A pair of underwear with semen evidence thought lost inexplicably turned up in a paper bag in a judge's chambers.
    In 1992, the state of Maryland set him free and paid him $300,000 for wrongful imprisonment, but nobody ever apologized to him.
    His family and friends never wavered from their support of him and his innocence.
    While in jail, he read an account of how DNA fingerprinting had led to the murder conviction of Colin Pitchfork, and thought if DNA can convict somebody, perhaps it could clear somebody.
    With the help of Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester in England, inventor of DNA fingerprint testing, he was set free after nearly nine years of incarceration.
    He thanked Alec Jefferys for saving his life and the lives of other prisoners cleared through DNA testing.
    In an ironic twist, DNA evidence found who was responsible for the murder - the man was already in jail, housed one floor below Bloodsworth, and remembered as someone with whom he lifted weights in the prison's gym.
    Feeling he was meant to help others, he became a program officer for The Justice Project, and has been an staunch supporter of the Innocence Protection Act (IPA).

Credit: Scar Tactics

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