Baltimore man exonerated in 1998 murder

Posted at 4:10 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 07:06:53-04

After 17 years in prison, a man convicted of killing a teenage girl in East Baltimore has been exonerated by DNA evidence.

Wednesday evening, Malcolm Bryant walked out of Courthouse East a free man.

“I'm still numb right now and I'm just absolutely thankful. Thankful to God. These two here, they wouldn't give up. They wouldn't give up,” Bryant said.

The “two” he's talking about are his attorneys from the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  They took up Bryant's case eight years ago.

“I met with Mr. Bryant many times. I met with his family. And thankfully we were able to eventually get DNA evidence that proved what he's been saying all along,” said Michelle Nethercott, the clinic’s director.

Back in 1998, 16-year-old Toni Bullock and a friend were walking home from a Rite Aid store in East Baltimore when a man attacked them.

Bullock was stabbed three times and died.  The friend later identified Malcolm Bryant as the attacker.  The following year, a jury convicted Bryant and gave him a life sentence.

But he always maintained his innocence, and in 2011 his attorneys won a court order to test Toni Bullock's finger-nail clippings for DNA.

They found it -- and it did not match Malcolm Bryant's.

“On behalf of the criminal justice system, I'd like to apologize to Mr. Malcolm Bryant and his family, for the pain they've endured as a result of his wrongful conviction,” said the current Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby.

More tests followed, and Bryant won a new trial.  Given all the new evidence, the state's attorney chose to not re-try the case, and so after 17 years in state prison, Bryant is now back home with his family.

We asked him if he ever started to lose hope in prison.  “Absolutely man,” he said.  “Them days, them days come. Them days most definitely come.”

Both the state's attorney and the Baltimore City police commissioner promised to investigate and find Toni Bullock’s true killer.

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