thursday, may 12

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 speak at a fundraising event for Oregon Innocence Project in at Urban Studio in NW Portland this May.

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 an 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.

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