Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Byron Halsey

First NameByron
Last NameHalsey
Year of Conviction1988
Year of Exoneration2007
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionNew Jersey
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Mentally Ill or Intellectually DisabledIntellectually Disabled
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Bartender and police officer testified that defendant was at a bar away from the scene at the time of the crime.

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • Forensic Evidence
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid (Non-probative)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

On cross-examination, the analyst for the first time admitted that one cannot rule out any secretor or nonsecretor: “Q. That sort of takes in the whole population; doesn’t it. A. That’s exactly right.”

Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Two children were killed ● Panties placed in one victim’s mouth. ● Nails and blue cloth hammered into one victim’s head with a brick ● Scissors used in assault ● Red wire used in assault ● Semen in one victim’s mouth

Quotes from law enforcement testimony

“…[H]e blurted out my kids are dead. At that time there was only one child when it was initially found.” “Lieutenant Lynch again was telling him that, you know, you’re the one that wants to give us a truthful statement. You’re not being truthful with us. Then he finally did tell us what he used to drive the nails into [the victim’s] head. Q. At any time was it suggested to the defendant what the answer should be? A. No.” “Well, the scissors that were found at the scene were little scissors and we subsequently used a unit of measurement which most people could be familiar with, which would be a Kool filter king cigarette. But his initial time I would say he had it about a foot, he had the scissors about the size of the foot… We again said, you know, Byron, you’re already – I mean he’s already gone through everything, telling us exactly what has occurred and yet he starts playing a game with us… We said, Byron, you know the scissors weren’t that long or words to that effect. He was grinning… Then he brought it smaller. . . Then he made – then we used the Kool filter cigarette as a unit of measurement and that’s what he said the size of the scissors were.”

Quotes from prosecution arguments

“And, ladies and gentlemen, think to yourself, detectives – [defense counsel] suggests that the detectives fed it to the defendant, suggested things. They’re doing to suggest two different times which he committed the murders? … Ladies and gentlemen, this defendant, whatever he said was written down.”

Interrogation RecordedSigned written statement
Highest level reachedState Post­ Conviction
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Motion for DNA Testing
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • OG
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Halsey, 748 A.2d 634 (N.J. Super A.D. 2000)
State v. Halsey, 758 A.2d 650 (N.J. 2000) (Table)

Read more about this exoneration