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Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA
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Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  187 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Charged with the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in 1984, Kirk Bloodsworth was tried, convicted, and sentenced to die in Maryland’s gas chamber. From the beginning, he proclaimed his innocence, but when he was granted a new trial because his prosecutors improperly withheld evidence, the second trial also resulted in conviction. Bloodsworth read every book on crimin ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 9th 2004 by A Shannon Ravenel Book
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May 01, 2012 Tori rated it it was amazing
Kirk Bloodsworth was tried and convicted for the brutal murder and rape of a 9 year-old girl and sentenced to death row. Long professing his innocence, he tried every avenue possible to prove he had been wrongly convicted. Going on a wing and a prayer, and questionable information from a detective novel, he became the first man to be exonerated by DNA.

Kirk Bloodsworth is my uncle.

I was so young when the crime actually happened, that by the time I was cognizant of my incarcerated uncle, I was so
May 30, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Kirk Bloodsworth's story is both depressing and uplifting. I hear more and more of these cases where innocent men and women are convicted on crimes they did not commit and loose years of there lives to a faulty judicial system. This book is about the first death row inmate who was exonerated using DNA evidence. Kirk Bloodsworth was convicted (twice) for the rape and murder of a nine year old girl and spent nine years in prison. This book was written to tell Kirk Bloodsworth's story. The story is ...more
Nov 05, 2007 Chris rated it liked it
As someone who flip-flopped regarding my feelings about the death penalty, I think it's safe to say this book pushed me even more towards the "against it" column.

This is a strong book. You know how it's going to end from the title, but the story and the things that Kirk Bloodsworth went through in his life are amazing.
Apr 25, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Donna by: Everyone
I have never taken the time to review a book on this site but if any book ever deserved it, it is this book. This is the story of the first death row inmate ever exonerated by DNA evidence. I have long held the opinion that the death penalty should be abolished because our system simply isn't reliable enough to impose that ultimate punishment that can never be righted should the system have failed. This book is real, concrete, powerful, moving proof of that idea.

Kirk Bloodworth spent 9 years of
Lorin Kleinman
Jan 27, 2008 Lorin Kleinman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: death penalty opponents, people interested in criminology
This is an excellent report of the true story of Kirk Bloodsworth, a Maryland waterman who was unjustly accused and convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a little girl.

Bloodsworth was convicted based solely on dubious circumstantial and eyewitness testimony, in spite of the fact that the unreliability of eye witness testimony is well known. Numerous errors were made by both the investigators and the prosecution, and the only defense that Bloodsworth and his family could afford did not repr
Feb 01, 2008 Adrienne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I'd be one to read true crime until one of my attorneys gave me a copy of this book as a much needed dose of inspiration for a post-conviction capital murder case we were working on.

It tells the story of Kirk Bloodsworth, who was falsely convicted of the 1984 rape and murder of a nine-year old girl in Maryland. After numerous public trials, appeals, and almost ten years in prison Kirk adamantly maintains his innocence. With the help of Robert Morin he becomes the first person in
Anthony Ambruso
Mar 12, 2016 Anthony Ambruso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Capital punishment hauls me to no end, especially when inflicted upon the innocent. This story reveals this situation for what it is: robbery of life. The injustice depicted in this book is heinous. The good outcome almost does not make up for the evil. A great book that teaches the lesson and reads like detective fiction. Definitely worth your time to read.
Alexei Averchenko
Jun 26, 2015 Alexei Averchenko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio
A true story of a man who never gave up, this book made me reexamine my views on death penalty. Almost everything that could go wrong in Kirk Bloodsworth's case did go wrong: the police had railroaded him, his lawyers had screwed up, and few people had had a second thought before jumping on the bandwagon of condemnation. And yet when he finally got out, amazingly he did much more than just brood and curse the fate, he used his experience to educate people, to serve a greater good - after getting ...more
Steve Anthony
Jan 02, 2016 Steve Anthony rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to see Mr. Bloodsworth give a speech about 5 years ago. His story is a testament to why the death penalty should be abolished. Our government will never be able to get it right. Well worth the read.
May 14, 2016 Catalina rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Super interesting. Along the lines of Netflix's Making a Murderer. Junkin was good at explaining technicalities and legal jargon for anyone to understand, especially the DNA specifics. The narration is sophisticated and at times hinges on dramatic (but rightly so?).
Paul Demetre
Mar 08, 2016 Paul Demetre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The true story of the justice system failing Kirk Bloodsworth which almost ended with his execution, which was only corrected after nine years in prison due to DNA testing.

Riveting and very moving, this is just one example of why the dealt penalty I should be abolished.
Sep 25, 2009 Kendra rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
An amazing story about the first death row inmate exonerated by DNA. The story follows Kirk Bloodsworth who was wrongly arrested and served nine years in prison, part of that time on death row, for the rape and murder of a little girl. The story is amazing and how Kirk Bloodsworth went on to be a voice for change in our judicial system is heartwarming. After reading this book I now view the death penalty in a different way. I really recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime or just ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Shawna rated it really liked it
A little bit of a dry read, full of details...I started zoning out when they discussed all the legal wrangling because that isn't my thing, but the story itself is riveting--and infuriating. Kirk Bloodsworth lost 9 years of his life to a wrongful conviction. And spent several years on death row, where sadistic guards once taunted him by forcing him to paint the interior of the gas chamber where he had been sentenced to die. Definitely a book to read if you think the death penalty should stand as ...more
Jun 06, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. As I read it , I was appalled at how inept the police were in this case, how Kirk Bloodsworht was convicted not once but twice because of flawed eye witness testimony, and at the injustice that was committed. It is fortunate that DNA has been able to free not only Bloodsworth, but also many others that have been wrongfully convicted. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in crime and criminal justice.
Cindy Huffman
Jul 21, 2011 Cindy Huffman rated it it was amazing
After the stylized novels I've read, my next read was a nonfiction story. The true story about a man who was wrongly convicted -- twice -- for the brutal rape and murder of a nine year old girl.

It was an odd transition from prose to 'straight-talk' writing. But the story is fascinating, in a not so fascinating way.

continued @
The story of the first man on death row to be exonerated by DNA evidence. The writing is more than a bit biased towards Kirk Bloodsworth who, although no angel, did not deserve to be jailed and sentenced to death for a crime that he did not commit. Fascinating and enlightening, especially regarding the investigative techniques and technologies of the time.
Mar 01, 2011 Misty rated it really liked it
Kirk is an amazing man and this book (which I first read several years ago and just re-read as I was thinking of Kirk and some of the other wrongfully convicted folks I've come to know) is really well-written and engaging. Even if you're not passionate about criminal justice reform (which you should be!), it's still a fascinating read.
Jul 09, 2016 Kasen rated it liked it
3.5 stars

What an interesting, heart breaking read. Sad to know that the justice system let Kirk Bloodsworth down for 9 years of his life. At least after all the heart break, Bloodsworth was able to fight for reform and helped many innocent inmates
Aug 26, 2012 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
Great man, great story about a wrongly convicted individual and how he fought the system to prove his innocence.
Mar 28, 2013 Diana rated it really liked it
Sadly Kirk Bloodsworth isnt the first and wont be the last to suffer at the hands of the US "justice" system
Jan 12, 2010 Erick added it
An Inspiring story about a man who never gave up his quest for justice
Tamara Saviano
Sep 28, 2013 Tamara Saviano rated it really liked it
Well researched and written. Also heartbreaking.
Sophie Makanoff
Aug 13, 2013 Sophie Makanoff rated it it was amazing
Read this book!
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Jul 15, 2016
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Nora Beatty rated it it was amazing
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