What would you do if you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit? And then given a sentence to die in a gas chamber?

Before 1985, in the state of Maryland, there was not much you could do.

You can read about one man’s ordeal in the book Bloodsworth: the true story of the first death row inmate exonerated by DNA evidence, a riveting account of Kirk Bloodsworth’s desperate fight for his life.

“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. Maintaining his innocence, he read everything on criminal law available in the prison library and persuaded a new lawyer to petition for the then-innovative DNA testing. After nine years in one of the harshest prisons in America, Kirk Bloodsworth became the first death row inmate exonerated by DNA evidence. He was pardoned by the governor of Maryland and has gone on to become a tireless spokesman against capital punishment. Bloodsworth’s story speaks for 159 others who were wrongly convicted and have since been released, and for the thousands still in prison waiting for DNA testing” (from the book’s back cover).

This month, the Robert L. Bogomolny Library is spotlighting this book because it was chosen as the One Maryland One Book title for 2018 by the Maryland Humanities. Every year a book related to a theme is chosen based on reader recommendations throughout the state. This year’s theme is JUSTICE, and there are events throughout Maryland during the month of October to promote citizen discussion and reading. The book was winner of the Christian Science Monitor Noteworthy Nonfiction in 2004, and of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Best Nonfiction of 2004. Numerous readers have said it is as gripping as a crime novel!

The RLB Library has other titles related to the use of DNA testing in solving crimes, as well as many titles on criminal justice, so stop by and check out our display (and maybe some books)!

[For more information on Kirk Bloodsworth, watch this interview.]

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