Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Terrill Swift

First NameTerrill
Last NameSwift
Year of Conviction1998
Year of Exoneration2012
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaBench Trial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • DNA excluded
  • Forensic Evidence
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • DNA
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Excluded
  • Valid
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Location of mop and shovel and description of each. ● Shovel was three or four feet long, with a green metal spade and a brown wood handle. ● Victims shirt and pants were ripped. ● Victim’s body wrapped in a white sheet and left in an alley ● Victim’s injuries, and specifically that she was strangled, with foam coming out of her mouth, after being hit in the head/face, consistent with the medical examiner’s testimony. BUT – DNA did not match defendants. Neither mop nor shovel were described as being broken, but both objects found near scene in pieces

Quotes from prosecution arguments

“You will see from the physical evidence, from the medical examiner that the confession is corroborated by the injuries that this victim suffered.” “This confession is certainly corroborated by that. The fact that she is bit by a shovel. If you take a look at the shovel that’s recovered, it’s consistent with that.” And – “look at the details of this confession… You have to make a judgment call of someone’s credibility based on all of the evidence that this defendant was not fed these details.”

Interrogation RecordedWritten and signed confession statement
Highest level reachedNR