Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Verneal Jimerson

First NameVerneal
Last NameJimerson
Year of Conviction1985
Year of Exoneration1996
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceYes
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s wife testified that she was with the defendant throughout the night when the murder occurred.

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

“Q: Now, I’m going to ask you Verneal, were you involved in this horrendous crime? A: No, I wasn’t.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Bullet comparison
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Error
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(2) Invalid failure to exclude
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The victim was Type O as was Jimerson. Yet though the stain had A and O antigens, the analyst did not exclude Jimerson: “Q. So when we say that the defendant could not be excluded, that is based simply on the proposition that he has O, and O grouping blood was found on the smear? A. O blood group substance was found, yes, on the swab. Q. And that would represent possibly 47 percent of the population, is that not correct? A. Approximately, yes.” Regarding laboratory error, see Adams.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Non-victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive line-up – see Adams

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initial non-identification, see Adams

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessCD, J
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Non-public details in codefendant Paula Gray’s reported and false confession see False Confessions Appendix. ● Non-public details in jailhouse informant’s statements
Quotes from testimony #3

Jailhouse informant testified: “He was saying that the guy that kept running off with his mouth, they say they’re glad they took care of him…” “[H]e was telling Tuna don’t worry about nothing because they’re gone. They’ll never find the pistol, you know.” And “that they was gonna get somebody to take care of the lady that seen them in the neighborhood the day they got arrested.”

Highest level reachedState Post­ Conviction
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Fabrication of Evidence
  • Improper Capital Sentencing Instructions
  • Ineffective Assistance of Appellate Counsel
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Jackson Claim
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
  • NP
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Jimerson, 535 N.E.2d 889 (Ill. 1989)
Jimerson v. Illinois, 497 U.S. 1031 (1990)
Jimerson v. Illinois, 497 U.S. 1050 (1990)
People v. Jimerson, 166 Ill.2d 211 (Ill. 1995)

Read more about this exoneration