Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Bennie Starks

First Name Bennie
Last NameStarks
Year of Conviction1986
Year of Exoneration2013
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Bite Mark
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
  • Vague
Reason why invalid(6) Conclusion evidence came from defendant
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

As to bite mark, found "some unusual characteristics" and "lots of points of similarity" concluding that "My opinion is that Mr. Starts bit [the victim] in the shoulder" Hairs were "similar" and "could have come from him"

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Highest level reachedState Post­ Conviction
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Actual Innocence
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Starks, 850 N.E.2d 206 (Ill App 2 Dist 2006)
People v. Starks, 850 N.E.2d 206 (Ill App 2 Dist 2006)
People v. Starks, 966 N.E.2d 247 (2012)
People v. Staris, 975 N.E.2d 71 (Ct App 2 Dist 2012)