Kirk Bloodsworth, who holds the distinction of being the first person in the U.S. to be sentenced to death and later exonerated thanks to DNA evidence, will visit Portland this spring as part of two fundraising events for Oregon Innocence Project.

Mr Bloodsworth was wrongfully convicted of the 1984 rape and murder of a nine year old girl in Rosedale, Maryland. He was arrested based on an anonymous call and eyewitness identification even though he didn't match the description of the suspect. He was just 22 when he was convicted and sentenced to death. He spent two years on death row, before his conviction was overturned on appeal and he was retried and sentenced to two life terms.

In the early 1990s, he learned about the potential of DNA testing to exonerate the innocent. After the testing of samples from the crime scene showed his DNA did not match that of the killer, he was released from prison in June 1993 and pardoned later that year. The real perpetrator, Kimberly Shay Ruffner, was identified some ten years later and he pleaded guilty to the crime in 2004.

Since his release from prison, Kirk Bloodsworth has dedicated his life to being a passionate advocate for the wrongfully convicted.

Thursday, may 12th

5.30 pm - 9 pm

Kirk Bloodsworth will be the special guest at the THIS IS INNOCENCE fundraiser for Oregon Innocence Project at Urban Studio in NW Portland. We will have wine, beer, delicious food and ice cream for you to enjoy while you hear from Kirk. For the first time, you will also have the opportunity to hear an update on Oregon Innocence Project's cases and learn more about the vital work we are doing to exonerate the innocent in Oregon.

Keynote Address
Kirk Bloodsworth

Additional Speakers
Jennifer Williamson, House Majority Leader
Janis Puracal, Co-Founder and Staff Attorney (pro-bono), Oregon Innocence Project
Steve Wax, Legal Director, Oregon Innocence Project

The full price of your ticket is tax-deductible.

Download more information about becoming a sponsor of this event.
Contact our Associate Director, Amie Wexler, to learn more. 


7 pm

Kirk Bloodsworth will host a screening of a new film about his life, Bloodsworth: An Innocent Man at Living Room Theater in SW Portland. The movie is a documentary memoir of his remarkable journey through the criminal justice system, set against the backdrop of the successful effort to repeal the death penalty in his home state of Maryland. Kirk Bloodsworth will take questions from the audience after the screening.