Ronnie Bullock spent more than ten years in prison for the rape of a nine year-old girl before DNA evidence proved him innocent in 1994.
On March 18, 1983, the victim was on her way to school in the south side of Chicago when she was approached by a man dressed like a police officer. He coerced the girl into his car, drove into an alley, and raped her in the car. One month later, on April 18, a man approached a 12-year-old girl, showed her a badge, then kidnapped and raped her in his car.
The Investigation and Trial
The victims, both African American, described their assailant to the police who created a joint composite sketch of the rapist. Ronnie Bullock, 27, who lived in the area, was identified several weeks later by a police officer based on this sketch. Both victims subsequently identified Bullock, who was also African American, in a live lineup.
Though the charges in the second case were later dropped, Bullock was convicted in 1984 for the rape of the first victim. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison for deviate sexual assault and 15 concurrent years for aggravated kidnapping.
Bullock insisted that the evidence from the case be preserved. After his appeals were denied, Bullock filed, in 1993, for post-conviction DNA testing. The evidence had been lost but was located and sent to Cellmark Diagnostics in Maryland. PCR-based DNA testing was performed and, while the rectal swabs were inconclusive, Bullock was excluded as the donor of the spermatozoa on the victim’s underwear.
Bullock was released on October 14, 1994, but he was ordered to remain in his parent’s house and be electronically monitored until the prosecution could perform replicate testing, which was performed by the Cook County laboratory. The exculpatory results were verified and, on November 23, 1994, Ronnie Bullock was officially a free man.
In 1998, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar granted Bullock a pardon based on innocence. Along with this pardon came automatic compensation through the Illinois Court of Claims.