Imagine being convicted of a crime for which you are not guilty—not some minor crime, but one of the most heinous crimes imaginable: the rape and murder of a young girl. Would you feel shock and anger at the injustice? Disappointment in the legal system that could make such a horrible error? Sadness and depression at the thought of spending time imprisoned for a crime that someone else committed? Probably all of those emotions and more. At your sentencing hearing, the situation gets worse; you are sentenced to death. Now, this horrible crime will prematurely claim the life of two innocents: the young girl and you.
This is the situation that Kirk Bloodsworth faced in 1985: a death sentence for the rape and murder of 9-year-old Dawn Hamilton. Although Bloodsworth didn’t know it at the time, DNA testing would eventually prove his innocence and save his life.
Continue reading “From Death Row to Exoneration Thanks to DNA Testing”
The past few decades have seen amazing advances in forensic science that are instrumental in analyzing DNA evidence to put perpetrators of crimes behind bars and exonerate people convicted of crimes that they did not commit. [Read William Dillon’s story of wrongful conviction].
Unfortunately for some people, these techniques were developed too late. One of those people was Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was accused and convicted of killing his wife Cora in 1910 using the forensic techniques available at the time. Until the very day of his execution, Dr. Crippen insisted that he was innocent, and now there is strong DNA evidence to support his claim. Recently, forensic scientists from Michigan State University analyzed DNA evidence in this case and published their results in the Journal of Forensic Science (1): The human remains that were so instrumental in Dr. Crippen’s conviction were not those of his wife.
Continue reading “Was Dr. Crippen Innocent After All? New Forensic Evidence 100 Years After his Execution”
William (Bill) Dillon spent more than half of his life in a prison for a crime he did not commit. Now, after being exonerated by DNA testing, he is telling his story of injustice and, eventually, freedom. On Wednesday, January 12, he visited Promega Corporation in Madison, Wisconsin, to relate his story and his efforts as an advocate for exonerees who are released from prison with little support from the same justice system that failed them in the first place.
The events that lead to Dillon’s false imprisonment started on August 17, 1981, when a man was found beaten to death in the parking area of a beach in a Florida tourist town. On August 22, detectives were investigating the crime scene, when Dillon and his brother drove into the parking area. Little did Dillon know that his decision to drive to the beach that day would lead to a wrongful conviction and 27 years and 8 months in prison.
Continue reading “Justice 27 Years Too Late: The William Dillon Story”