Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Billy Wardell

First NameBilly
Last NameWardell
Year of Conviction1988
Year of Exoneration1997
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Missing defense portion of trial transcript.

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Error
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1), (3) Masking; false probability
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

See Reynolds, above. The victim was an A secretor; Wardell was a B secretor; and codefendant Reynolds an O secretor. “When I ran that swab I picked up both A and H activity which is indicative of a Type A individual and a Type O individual.” “Donald Reynolds is included in the group that could have deposited the semen on that swab.” The analyst agreed that more than 43% had that type, yet the findings were entirely consistent with the victim. See Dr. Edward Blake, Review of the Testimony of Pamela Fish, January 9, 2001. See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of similar cases.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses2
Suggestive Procedures

No transcript

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jackson Claim
  • Motion for DNA Testing
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Law Evidence Claim
  • Suggestive Eyewitness Identification
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Wardell, 595 N.E.2d 1148 (Ill. 1992)

Read more about this exoneration

Previous post
←  Keith Turner