Just a few hours ago, I was in a courthouse in New Jersey where Somerset County Prosecutors filed a motion dismissing the indictment against Gerard Richardson, fully exonerating him of murder for which he served 19 years.
Gerard’s exoneration comes nearly two months after a court overturned his conviction and ordered his release from prison.
Gerard was convicted of the 1994 murder based largely on the testimony of a forensic dentist who claimed that a bite mark on the victim’s body matched to him. Gerard always maintained his innocence and although several rounds of testing were inconclusive, he held out hope that DNA would one day exonerate him. In the most recent round of testing, the lab was able to detect a complete male DNA profile from a swab taken from the bite mark that excluded Gerard.
Gerard has already begun to put his life back together after his long wrongful imprisonment, starting work at FedEx just days after his release. But FBI regulations have prevented officials in New Jersey from entering the DNA profile from the bite mark into the CODIS DNA database, which contains over ten million profiles of convicted offenders and could identify the person responsible for the 1994 murder. For the sake of the many victims in this case, we will be urging state lawmakers to amend the law to end the unnecessary hurdles to accessing the database.
Everyone at the Innocence Project has been overjoyed to welcome Gerard home and we are thrilled now that he is fully exonerated. To read more about his case, visit our website
Barry Scheck Co-Director