Man Freed from Death Row Speaks

Kirk Bloodsworth, whose capital conviction was the first in the country to be overturned as a result of DNA testing, will speak at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 19, at Seattle University’s Lemieux Library.

A former marine with no criminal record, Bloodsworth was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in Maryland in1984 for a rape and murder that he did not commit. He spent nearly nine years in prison before DNA testing proved his innocence in 1993. It took another 10 years before the Maryland State’s Attorney announced that a DNA match had identified the actual perpetrator of the crime. That person pleaded guilty to the murder for which Bloodsworth had been wrongfully convicted.

Bloodsworth is now the program officer for The Justice Project, a nonpartisan organization in Washington, D.C., that addresses unfairness in the American Criminal Justice System. He will be joined at the presentation by John Terzano, president of The Justice Project.

The Justice Project develops and coordinates national and state-based campaigns involving public education, litigation and legislation to reform the criminal justice system, with particular focus on capital punishment. Bloodsworth and The Justice Project led a five-year campaign to pass the Innocence Protection Act in the U.S. Congress. The bill, which established the “Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program,” was signed into law in 2004.

The dramatic story of Bloodsworth’s 20-year journey is chronicled in the book “Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA.”

The event is sponsored by the SU Criminal Justice Department and the School of Law.

For more information, contact Jackie Helfgott, chair of the Criminal Justice Department, at (206) 296.5477 or jhelfgot@seattleu.edu.

Media interested in attending or interviewing Mr. Bloodsworth and Mr. Terzano can contact Katherine Hedland Hansen at (206) 398.4108 or hedlandk@seattleu.edu or Melanie Apostol at (206) 296.6114 or apostolm@seattleu.edu.