Documentary Review: ‘Bloodsworth: An Innocent Man” (2015) ★★★★


The criminal justice system sometimes imperfect. In some cases, it even fails to convict the right person, largely due to false witnesses or the weak evidences the investigators don’t know how to deal with. No matter what reason so called investigators or prosecutors provide to defend themselves, the years you spent in the prison for a crime you never committed won’t come back. What happens with Kirk Noble Bloodsworth is outrageous and unfair, and could have been easily prevented. However, it still happened…

In 1985, Kirk Bloodsworth was convicted of sexual assault, rape, and first-degree premediated murder for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl, Dawn Hamilton. In the police sketch, Kirk’s neighbor assumes that it’s Bloodsworth, who is wanted by police, and calls the authorities immediately. After being arrested, five more witnesses came out to state that it was Kirk who they saw near the woods. This and some other “evidences” seemed enough for the prosecutor and the judge to sentence Kirk Noble Bloodsworth to death row.

The documentary film begins with introducing us a murder case of a charming little girl, whose life was cut short by a brutal rape and murder in the woods. Shortly, we find out from Bloodsworth that he was an honorably discharged former Marine who just moved to Baltimore with his wife. It was July 1984 when Bloodsworth makes Baltimore his new home, and July, 25th, 1984, when Dawn Hamilton’s body was found, lying facedown in thick bush, about 12 feet off an abandoned path in woods behind the Fontana Village townhouse complex, where she had been staying with her father.

As you watch Gregory Bayne’s BLOODSWORTH: AN INNOCENT MAN, you find out more terrifying details of reality Bloodsworth had to go through. But it was, no doubt, his determination, strength and desire that made him continue his battle against the system in order to maintain his name, and find justice for Dawn Hamilton. Everything changes fundamentally when, in jail, Bloodsworth reads an account of how DNA fingerprinting had led to the conviction of Colin Pitchfork in the killing of two victims. This made him to push forward his DNA test, with hope, that it will help clean his name and find the real murderer of Dawn Hamilton, who, in fact, had been incarcerated in a cell one floor below Bloodsworth’s own cell. He just never knew about it, until many years later…

In conclusion, Bloodsworth’s story will make you think of how many more people were convicted wrongly. We also will never find out how many more innocent people were executed due to crimes they were mistakenly accused of. Since the DNA test came to the picture, it has helped exonerate over hundreds of people, where some of them were released when they were at a very old age. This film shows clearly that the criminal justice system does not work properly. However, it`s the same criminal justice system that still allows prisoners to use DNA tests as a last attempt to clean their names. Again, the dilemma of being guilty or innocent was, is and will always be relevant until we find a way to ensure that whatever happened with Kirk Noble Bloodsworth will never happen again.

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