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Is Bloodsworth truly innocent? DNA or no DNA, Brobst and Lazzaro are not sure, though they said they don't want to see an innocent person behind bars.
They argue that it is unclear where the semen came from or when it got on the panties.
Lazzaro gave two scenarios: In the first scenario, Dawn puts her panties in the laundry hamper, where it gets mixed up with her dad's underwear. The girl, for whatever reason, takes the dirty panties out of the hamper and wears them on the day of her death. In the second scenario, two people raped and killed the girl; the other guy's semen got on the panties, "excluding" Bloodsworth.
"That semen stain could have come from anybody, either before or after the crime. The cumulative effect of all the evidence -- including his testimony -- leaves a bad taste in my mouth, still gives me pause. That DNA test has not diminished that pause," Lazzaro said. "As a legal matter he has been exonerated, but we'll never know if he didn't do it."
At a Burger King on Maryland's Eastern Shore yesterday, Kirk Bloodsworth sat down with the prosecutor who helped send him to death row for the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. Nearly two decades later, Ann Brobst told him, DNA had identified the man who had really done it.
"We got a hit on a guy," he remembers hearing, in the immeasurable fraction of a moment before he began weeping, realizing the words' import, realizing that the state at last considered him a completely innocent man. Beside him, his wife, Brenda, broke down and wept, too.
"You know how long I've waited to hear you say that?" Bloodsworth asked Brobst, who twice persuaded a jury to convict him of Dawn Hamilton's brutal death -- and who yesterday apologized for how that shattered his life.
But there was more. The suspect, Brobst went on, is already in prison in Maryland, halfway through a 45-year sentence for burglary, attempted rape and assault with intent to murder. His name: Kimberly Shay Ruffner.
"My God," Bloodsworth said, "I know him."
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which
difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.--Thomas Jefferson