A U.S. Customs and Border Protection chemist reads a DNA profile to determine the origin of a commodity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just a few hours ago, Somerset County Prosecutors filed a motion dismissing the indictment against Gerard Richardson, exonerating him of murder for which he served nineteen years. Gerard’s exoneration comes two months after a court overturned his conviction and ordered his release from prison.
Gerard was convicted of the 1994 murder based on the testimony of a forensic dentist who claimed that a bite mark on the victim’s body matched him. Gerard maintained his innocence. Although testing was inconclusive, he held out hope that DNA would one day exonerate him. In the most recent round of testing, the lab was able to detect a complete male DNA profile from the bite mark that excluded Gerard.
Gerard has begun to put his life back together after his wrongful imprisonment, starting work at FedEx just days after his release.
FBI regulations have prevented officials in New Jersey from entering the DNA profile from the bite mark into the DNA database, which has over ten million profiles of convicted offenders and could name the person responsible for the 1994 murder.
To read more about his case, visit the Innocence Project website.
Filed under Cheers!, Science
Anthony Dansberry is serving a seventy-five-year sentence for a robbery and murder he didn’t commit. He has already served twenty-two years for the crime, the snatching of an elderly woman’s purse that resulted in the woman’s death four months later as result of injuries she suffered when the attacker knocked her to the ground. Because there is no physical evidence for DNA testing, Anthony’s best hope of being released is clemency from Governor Quinn.
Please urge Governor Quinn to exercise his clemency power and release Anthony.
Anthony was twenty-seven at the time of his arrest and had no criminal record or history of violence. He was convicted based on shaky identification evidence and a typed confession that he signed under the mistaken belief that the papers would secure his release. Four eyewitnesses viewed a lineup that included Anthony, and only one witness picked him. That witness had previously viewed Anthony’s photo in a photo array. One of the other witnesses said that Anthony was definitely not the perpetrator, and another selected a different person from the lineup. Additionally, his palmprint did not match a palmprint found on the hood of a car that the attacker touched while fleeing the scene.
Anthony has a low IQ and the reading comprehension of a first grader. His “confession” uses words like “viaduct” and “southbound,” which are not in his vocabulary. Anthony has always maintained that he was told that the papers he signed were for his release. His aunt corroborated his account, saying that he told her after his arrest that he had signed “release papers.”
The Center on Wrongful Convictions, which is representing Anthony, has produced a short video about his case here.
The end of the year is when most lawmakers exercise their clemency power. Please take just a few minutes to urge Gov. Quinn to right this injustice and bring Anthony come home for the holidays.
It’s almost a year until the next election, and Super PACs and special interest groups are already airing ads all over the country. As we inch closer to election day, they’re going to get worse.
Citizens United is threatening to reduce our elections to a game of “who has the biggest wallet.”
Our campaign finance system can’t take another hit — and with the McCutcheon case looming, ready to strike another blow to our campaign finance safeguards, we all need to take action. Tell Congress to take action to reverse the effects of Citizens United.
The only way we can win this fight is if we continue to work together.