MSNBC – Escaping death: Exonerated man vindicated as Maryland repeals death penalty

, @MeredithLClark
12:58 PM on 05/11/2013

When Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill repealing the death penalty in the state, it must have felt like vindication to Kirk Bloodsworth.

In 1985, Bloodsworth was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Maryland. That was until eight years later when he became the first U.S. death row prisoner to be exonerated by DNA evidence. In Bloodsworth’s initial trial, five eyewitnesses positively identified him for allegedly killing and assaulting a nine-year-old girl. He successfully appealed his conviction but was sentenced to life in prison at a new trial; he later received a full pardon in December of 1993.

Since 1973, 142 people have been exonerated and freed from death row. More than 1,300 have been put to death since 1976, and there are currently more than 3,000 people awaiting execution.

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