The first U.S. death row inmate to be exonerated based on DNA evidence is in Nebraska.
Kirk Bloodsworth was wrongfully convicted for the 1984 rape and murder of a nine year old girl in Maryland.
He served two years on death row and several more years of a life sentence before a DNA test proved his innocence.
“The prosecutors withheld the evidence about the real person, the real killer. That is to say, they never went back to check,” Bloodsworth tells Nebraska Radio Network. “That is a mistake. We make mistakes over and over and over again, and at the cost of somebody’s life, and we cannot be doing it.”
The referendum on the death penalty will ask voters to retain the law that repealed it in favor of a life sentence without parole, or if the law abolishing capital punishment should be repealed.
Bloodsworth says Nebraskans voting on the issue next week should not make a snap decision.
“It could happen to anybody here and I would say, don’t let it happen. It’s not for the guilty people that we want to get rid of the death penalty,” he says. “It’s because of the possibility of executing an innocent person.”
Bloodsworth is featured in a TV and radio ad for the anti-death penalty group, Retain a Just Nebraska.