On Tuesday, Governor Pat McCrory issued a pardon to an innocent man who had spent the past 25 years in prison.
In 1989, Timothy Scott Bridges was unjustly arrested and charged with breaking into a home and raping an 83-year-old Charlotte woman. The FBI recently admitted analysts it trained repeatedly gave flawed evidence about tracing hair left at crime scenes.
The prosecution built its case against Bridges on microscopic hair analysis, which has often been proven to wrongly identify individuals. An FBI-trained Charlotte police analyst testified two hairs found at the crime scene likely came from Bridges, but a bloody hard print found at the scene was not a match.
Thankfully, Bridges was released from prison 13-months ago after it was discovered by an FBI review that hair analysis testimony to jurors by FBI-trained experts and the bureau’s forensic examiners for decades overstated what was scientifically valid in the case.
Since his release, new DNA tests performed have found zero evidence of Bridges’ DNA on a coat found on the bed at the crime scene or a cigarette butt found in the coat’s pocket, confirming his innocence.
Governor McCrory personally called Bridges on Thursday to inform him of the decision to grant a pardon of innocence, allowing Bridges to receive up to $750,000 for the 24 years and seven months he was unjustly imprisoned.
Bridges has filed lawsuits against the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and three forensic specialists, alleging they hid evidence that may have shown Bridges’ innocence, including leads on another suspect who had committed rapes and incentives offered to testifying witnesses.