Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Michael Blair

First NameMichael
Last NameBlair
Year of Conviction1994
Year of Exoneration2008
State of ConvictionTexas
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceYes
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeAsian
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
  • Third Party Guilt
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Two roommates and the ex-girlfriend of one of the roommates all testified that defendant was asleep at the apartment the night of the crime. ● Witnesses testified about another individual at the park and had a history of sexually abusing boys.

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

● When asked if he was at the scene of the crime, defendant replied, “No, sir.” ● When asked if he killed the victim, defendant replied, “No, sir.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Fiber
  • Hair
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(5) Claimed hairs were unusual and fibers of a type never before seen
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst testified that the victim had unusual hairs: “the interesting thing about Ashley’s hair, when you look at her standard, is that she has microovoid bodies. These are very small air inclusions that are smaller than a true ovoid body. Ovoid bodies are mostly found in cattle hair and they’re much larger, but Ashley, thoughout her standard or known head hairs, has these microstructures.” He linked the characteristics of the hair to the commission of an assault, claiming he observed evidence that “the hair has been crushed or particle filamant or frayed ends. The other end of this hair has a similar appearance indicating that this hair piece has been subjected to some sort of blunt force.” The hairs found at the crime scene included hairs he identified as Michael Blair’s. Using side by side photos for jury, the analyst explained “I’ve never seen a Caucasian or Mongoloid hair that was opaque like that. Q. That’s in seven years or more of looking at hair under a microscope about 85 to 90 percent of your day? A. That’s right.” The analyst added, “I haven’t seen a hair like that before. Not a human hair.” The analyst also identified a fiber in Blair’s car as being from the victim’s “sleep rabbit” toy, stating that “This is a fiber seldom encountered in forensic work.”

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Non-victim
Multiple eyewitnesses3
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Eyewitness not told attacker might not be in photo-array

Quotes from testimony #1

Eyewitness testified – “He just said, I’m going to place a photograph of some certain–you know, had pictures of people, and I want you to study it carefully, and show me the person that–that you think you saw you’re talking about.”

Unreliable Identification?

No ● All eyewitnesses had seen media images of Blair prior to line-up

Quotes from testimony #2

For example, one eyewitness learned that police had arrested someone, and “saw the – his picture in the newspaper the next morning” prior to viewing lineup

Highest level reachedNR

Read more about this exoneration

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