UB Innocence Project client is exonerated after 18 years

Professor Michele Nethercott, director of UB's Innocence Project Clinic (left) appeared with (from left) Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, UB law student Towanda Luckett and Baltimore Police Chief Kevin Davis at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Professor Michele Nethercott, director of UB’s Innocence Project Clinic (far left), appeared with (from left) Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, UB law student Towanda Luckett and Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

All charges were dismissed Wednesday against Malcolm Bryant, a Baltimore man serving a life sentence for the 1998 murder of a teenage girl, after DNA testing revealed he was not her killer.

Bryant, 42, in custody since Dec. 1, 1998, has been represented for the past eight years by Michele Nethercott, director of UB’s Innocence Project Clinic.

Nethercott began requesting DNA testing when she took the case.

“The quest for DNA testing began eight years ago,” she said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office. “It was a long struggle to get the testing that produced the exoneration in this case.”

Baltimore has had three state’s attorneys in that period.

A court order led to the round of DNA testing that determined Bryant was not the person who fatally stabbed 16-year-old Toni Bullock on a rainy night in November 1998 in a lot off Harford Road in East Baltimore.

Bryant appeared in court Wednesday. According to a story in The Baltimore Sun, he pumped his fist and shook his head with his eyes closed as prosecutors told a judge that they were dropping all charges against him.

Arrested after a witness picked him out of a photo lineup, Bryant maintained his innocence throughout the nearly 18-year ordeal.

“Mr. Bryant was always adamant, he never wavered,” Nethercott said. “He was consistent in everything he told me about this case.”

UB law student Towanda Luckett, who has helped Nethercott with Bryant’s case, also took part in the news conference.

In addition to Luckett, Nethercott has worked with a number of UB student-attorneys over the years, including, recently, Shanitta Garey, Dimitri Kotzias, Michelle Gardner, Alisha De La Cruz and Allison Steinberg.

De La Cruz, who, with Steinberg, visited Bryant while working on his case last spring, said he had a youthful face but gray hair, “hinting to his age and years in prison.”

She added that Bryant’s mother had been a “nonstop advocate” for her son.

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