Bruce Nelson

Bruce Nelson was convicted of rape and murder based on the confession of Terrence Moore, who implicated Nelson as the instigator of a robbery scheme. Moore testified that the two men drove a van into a parking garage for the purposes of a robbery. The victim entered the garage, was attacked and thrown into the van, and was raped repeatedly before being strangled.
 
Nelson, based on this testimony, was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to life for the murder, with a concurrent sentence of ten to twenty years for the rape. Nelson had been in prison for another crime when police interrogated him in the presence of Moore. Nelson asked Moore what he had told police and this question was used at trial as a confession. Additional evidence included saliva on a cigarette, saliva on the victim’s breast and bra, hairs, and fingerprints. All of these items were consistent with Moore.
 
Nelson’s case was remanded in 1990. The prosecution had DNA testing performed, which excluded Nelson as a perpetrator and matched Moore’s profile. Nelson was exonerated of the rape and murder in August 1991 after serving nine years. 
 
Summary courtesy of the Innocence Project, http://www.innocenceproject.org/. Reproduced with permission.

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State:Pennsylvania
County:Allegheny
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Rape
Reported Crime Date:1981
Convicted:1982
Exonerated:1991
Sentence:Life
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age:24
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes