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Saturday, September 16, 2006

CrimProf Jackie McMurtie's Innocent Project Won Washington's 1st Reversal of a Conviction Based on DNA

McmurtrieThe Innocent Project Northwest Clinic, directed by University of Washington School of Law CrimProf Jackie McMurtie helped lead the path to the first reversal of a conviction based on DNA testing in Washington State's history.   

In the ultimate pursuit of justice, the prosecutor was agreeable to DNA testing,” said Jackie McMurtrie. “He’s thrilled with the result and he’s innocent,” added McMurtrie.

Ted Bradford was convicted in 1996 for rape of a Yakima woman and confessed to the crime after eight hours of high pressure interrogation. He was convicted and sentenced to more than 10 years in prison despite the fact that Bradford did not match the description of the rapist; testimony from co-workers verified that he was at work at the time of the crime; and there were glaring discrepancies between his post-interrogation admissions and the victim’s description of the attack.

Since his conviction, new technology has made it possible to extract DNA from very small samples. Crime scene evidence from Bradford's case, including a mask which the perpetrator forced the victim to wear, was submitted to the Washington State Patrol's crime lab for DNA testing in 2005. The lab concluded that male DNA on black electrical tape used to cover the eyeholes of the mask was not Bradford’s. [Mark Godsey]

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