Malcolm Bryant, released from prison Wednesday after serving 17 years for the death of a 16-year-old Baltimore girl, isn’t the first person in Maryland to be exonerated using DNA evidence.
The Innocence Project lists four other men who served lengthy sentences in the state for crimes evidence later proved they didn’t commit. The organization uses DNA testing to overturn wrongful convictions.
Bloodsworth was the first person to be exonerated after being sentenced to death. A former Marine and waterman on the Eastern Shore, he was convicted of raping and murdering a 9-year-old girl back in 1984. He was exonerated in 1993 after DNA evidence found on the victim’s clothing excluded Bloodsworth as the perpetrator.
Gray was sentenced in Calvert County to two life terms after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree rape in 1991. The Innocence Project says Gray suffers from mental disabilities, and was coaxed into a confession by police. Years later, a burglary suspect revealed new information to police about the 1991 murder for which Gray was sent to prison. DNA testing of semen from the crime scene matched the burglary suspect and cleared Gray. The burglary suspect pleaded guilty in 1997 to the rape and murder. Gray was finally released in 1999.
Jerry Lee Jenkins
Jenkins was sentenced in 1987 to two life sentences after being convicted of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault in Charles County. The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project petitioned for DNA tests from the rape, which matched a man already serving three life sentences in Fredericksburg, Va. Jenkins was released from prison in 2010 in a plea deal. His case was dismissed in 2013.
Webster was convicted of raping a Towson woman in 1983 and sentenced to 30 years. He was exonerated in 2002 after DNA testing proved the semen found at the crime scene didn't belong to him. Webster was the first person exonerated under the state’s post-conviction DNA statute, according to the Innocence Project. He served 19 years in prison.
More information on cases handled by the Innocence Project HERE.