Joseph White was added today to the Innocence Project’s database of DNA exonerations in the U.S. He is the 225th person exonerated, and the first in Nebraska. There have been DNA exonerations in 33 states, and the exonerees have served a total of nearly 2,800 years.
White and five co-defendants were convicted of a 1985 murder in Beatrice, Nebraska, and all six were cleared recently by DNA testing on evidence from the crime scene, which points to a man who was a suspect at the time of the crime. Law enforcement officials say they have “no doubt” the actual perpetrator committed the crime alone. White has been fully exonerated and the other five defendants are seeking pardons to clear their records. They will be included as DNA exonerees when their records are cleared.
Involved in the wrongful conviction of these six defendants was the faulty forensic testimony of Joyce Gilchrist, an Oklahoma City Police Department lab analyst whose false statements have been involved in at least four other wrongful conviction cases. In this case, Gilchrist tested the blood of a likely suspect who had fled to Nebraska. She told Nebraska police that the suspect was excluded by the tests, but she was wrong. This suspect is the man now implicated by DNA tests.
Read more about this case below, and stay tuned for updates.
Beatrice Daily Sun: Taylor released from prison
Omaha World-Herald: An opportunity led to 19 years spent in prison
Associated Press: Exonerated inmates often don’t have state help