An honorably discharged former Marine, Kirk Bloodsworth is the first person in the United States exonerated from death row by DNA testing. In 1984 he was arrested for the rape and murder of nine-year-old Dawn Hamilton. He was sentenced to death in 1985. In 1992, Kirk read about a new forensic breakthrough called DNA fingerprinting, and lobbied successfully for prosecutors approval for its use in his case. The tests established Kirk’s innocence, and he was released in June 1993.
In addition to his work for Witness to Innocence, Kirk has been an ardent supporter of the Innocence Protection Act (IPA) since its passage by Congress in February 2000. The IPA established the "Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program", a program that helps states defray the costs of post-conviction DNA testing. He previously served as a program officer for the Justice Project in Washington, DC. Kirk is the subject of the book "Bloodsworth: the True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA" by Tim Junkin and the 2016 documentary directed by Gregory Bayne titled "Bloodsworth: An Innocent Man."
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