ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A man who was on Maryland’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his release.
Kirk Bloodsworth is marking the anniversary on Friday, just months after Maryland banned the death penalty.
Bloodsworth, who recently moved from Maryland to Philadelphia to be director of advocacy for Witness to Innocence, was twice convicted of a girl’s 1984 murder. He spent two years on death row following his first trial. A second trial brought another conviction, although he received a life sentence instead of capital punishment.
Bloodsworth was cleared in 1993, becoming the first American freed because of DNA evidence after being convicted in a death penalty case.
Reflecting on his experience, Bloodsworth says: “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The end of the death penalty in Maryland. That’s what some lawmakers and advocates are hoping to accomplish by the end of this legislative session.
Derek Valcourt explains they’ve got some hurdles to clear first.
They made their case to a House committee Tuesday but it’s a Senate committee that could give them the most resistance. Supporters say they are one vote shy of getting out of a Senate committee to the full floor, where they say they have enough votes in both chambers to pass it.
Erricka Bridgeford says justice for the 2007 murder of her brother won’t come by lethal injection.
“It’s not justice to me to have another dead body in place of my brother’s dead body,” Bridgeford said.
She’s one of several advocates calling on lawmakers to repeal Maryland’s death penalty. She’s joined by the NAACP, which points to the outrage over the September execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis as proof that attitudes toward the death penalty are changing.
“It’s a known fact that racism exists. We know that our system is not foolproof, so in that sense of the word, we need to move forward at this time not to have another Troy Davis,” said Gerald Stansbury, NAACP.