Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Kirk Bloodsworth

First NameKirk
Last NameBloodsworth
Year of Conviction1985
Year of Exoneration1993
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionMaryland
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty Plea2 Trials
Type of CrimeMurder
Death SentenceYes
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
  • Third Party Guilt
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Hair and fingerprints from the crime scene did not match defendant’s ● Family members and friends testified they who saw defendant for various parts of the time when the crime was committed.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

● Defendant testified that he was either home with his wife’s family or with friends all day ● When asked about the bloody rock that was used to assault the victim, defendant testified, “I don’t know nothing of that.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Shoe print
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid (Excluded) (Non-probative)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst concluded, in comparing shoe prints to the defendants’ shoes, “I was unable to determine general wear, size of the shoe, or I was unable to find any specific identifying features.” A latent print in the case excluded Bloodsworth.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Non-victim
Multiple eyewitnesses5
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive line-up – only three of the six photos in array were similar to descriptions. Defendant was only man in array whose hair matched composite image. ● Eyewitness not told attacker might not be in line-up

Quotes from testimony #1

Q. Okay. Now, in the photographs that they showed you, some of those photographs did not have a mustache; isn’t that correct?

Unreliable Identification?


Quotes from testimony #2

Q. The last time we were here and we talked, I asked you about the color of the man’s hair; is that right? You remember we talked about color? [. . .] A. Yes. Q. [. . .] You told me that the person did not have red hair; isn’t that right? A. Right.

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessIW
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Cooperating witness recounted statements by Bloodsworth, that while not admissions, contained allegedly non-public information about the crime
Quotes from testimony #3

‘I didn’t think anything of it then, and he started talking about this little girl and her clothes, and some guy that was with him that was supposed to have done it and some rock. It was bloody and all this kind of stuff.’ The prosecution contended that the information about the rape was non-public. However, police also conceded that the rock was sitting in the interview room before Bloodsworth was interrogated and that it was only removed after Bloodsworth had entered the room.

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Brady
  • Jackson Claim
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • State Court Newly Discovered Evidence Claim
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Claims granted, resulting in preexon. reversal
  • Brady
Harmless Error Rulings
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

Bloodsworth v. State, 512 A.2d 1056 (Md. 1986)
Bloodsworth v. State, 543 A.2d 382 (Md. App. 1988)
Bloodsworth v. State, 548 A.2d 128 (Md. App. 1988)

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