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"A Matter of Innocence:" Kirk Bloodsworth, Death Row Exoneree, presented by Gerber Institute
(Special Events)

The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies is honored to welcome Kirk Bloodsworth, Advocacy Director of Witness to Innocence and a death row exoneree, who will speak on wrongful convictions and the death penalty at an event on April 16th at 7:00 p.m. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, in the Dugan Library and Campus Center on the campus of Newman University.

Mr. Bloodsworth was accused and convicted of a horrific crime: murdering and raping a nine year-old girl. The evidence used to convict him was the testimony of five eyewitnesses. He spent eight years in prison before DNA evidence proved his innocence. Mr. Bloodsworth is one of 142 individuals in the US to be sentenced to death and later found innocent.

While in prison, the Catholic Church provided spiritual support to Mr. Bloodsworth, who would convert to Catholicism. He also learned how DNA evidence had solved murders in Britain. In 1992, the prosecution agreed to DNA testing, which excluded Mr. Bloodsworth as the murderer. Ten years after the initial tests, investigators matched DNA from the case to the real killer.

In Kansas, DNA evidence has played a role in exonerating both Eddie Lowery and Joe Jones of rapes that they did not commit. To date, DNA evidence has led to the release of 305 individuals in the US wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit.

While in Kansas, Mr. Bloodsworth hopes his story will highlight how anyone can suffer the injustice of a wrongful conviction: "I was a former Marine with no criminal record, who was nowhere near the scene of the crime, but I was still convicted and sentenced to death for a crime I didn't commit. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anybody. And it does."

(In January 2012, the Gerber Institute welcomed another DNA exoneree, Darryl Hunt, who hosted "The Trials of Darryl Hunt," a screening of the award-winning documentary about his life.)

Location: Dugan-Gorges Conference Center
Sponsor: The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies
Contact: Dr. Jamey Findling, Director, Gerber Institute
316-942-4291, ext. 2309
Apr 2014
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