Exonerated Man Fights For Repeal Of Delaware's Death Penalty - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Exonerated Man Fights For Repeal Of Delaware's Death Penalty

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Bloodsworth in 2007 Bloodsworth in 2007
Bloodsworth arrested in 1984 Bloodsworth arrested in 1984
Dawn Hamilton - raped and murdered in 1984 Dawn Hamilton - raped and murdered in 1984
Bloodsworth released from prison Bloodsworth released from prison
Senator Karen Peterson - bill sponsor Senator Karen Peterson - bill sponsor

DELAWARE - The death penalty in Maryland and Delaware may be seeing its last days. Legislation to repeal capital punishment recently passed in both chambers of Maryland's General Assembly.Just last week, a bill to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment was introduced in Delaware.

Kirk Bloodsworth is advocating this change, to possibly save the lives of others like him. He made U.S. history when he was released from prison in 1993 - the first to be exonerated from death row using DNA evidence. This after nearly a decade behind bars, convicted for the rape and murder of 9 -year-old Dawn Hamilton in 1984.

"The real killer was a man that was in prison with me, in the same prison, in the same cell block, in a tier below me, whom I handed library books to and spotted weights with. I didn't see Cambridge again for 8 years, 11 months and 19 days," Bloodsworth said in a 2007 interview with WMDT.

He's making a name for himself as an advocate against the death penalty, and now he's joining legislators in Delaware to put an end to capital punishment.

"If it can happen to an honorably discharged Marine Corp veteran, it can happen to anybody," he said.

Since 1973, 142 death row inmates in the U.S. have been exonerated and released. Senator Karen Peterson who's spear-heading the bill, says not only is our judicial system far from perfect, but she believes capital punishment does not deter crime. 

"States with the death penalty have a higher murder rate than those without the death penalty. And it's a substantial difference between 48% to 101% more violent crime. It's time for Delaware to end the insanity of killing killers," she said.

Bloodsworth takes the stage at the Siegel JCC Auditorium in Wilmington Tuesday night to advocate for the repeal of Delaware's death penalty.

The biggest opposition the bill faces, comes from law enforcement agencies across the state of Delaware. They argue the death penalty is purely a moral and justice issue. Just one day after the bill was introduced, police rallied at the state capitol, urging legislators to kill the bill.  

"I think we have a good judiciary, we have a good process. When somebody gets the death penalty, in Delaware, if you look at the ones that we have executed from 1976 until 2012 - the last one - a lot of people agree that they should have been put to death," Chief Jeffrey Horvath of the Lewes Police Department said.

The bill goes before a senate judiciary committee on Wednesday. If it passes, the proposed legislation will hit the Senate floor.

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