Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Timothy Scott Bridges



Rape and Assault



Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

North Carolina

County or Region of Crime:


City of Crime:



Judicially Exonerated and Later Pardoned

Summary of Case:

"Timothy Scott Bridges was wrongly convicted on February 2, 1991 of first-degree rape, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and breaking and entering, related to the May 14, 1989 attack on 83-year-old Modine Wise in her home in north Charlotte, North Carolina. The prosecution of Timothy Bridges was based on expert testimony by a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) analyst that his hair likely matched two hairs found at the scene of the crime, and there was a 1 in 1,000 chance the hairs belonged to someone other than Bridges. After his conviction by a jury Tim Bridges was sentenced to life imprisonment on his rape and assault convictions, and 10 years in prison for his breaking and entering conviction. In 2012, the FBI announced hair analysis testimony presented by FBI-trained experts had exceeded the limits of science, and at times overstated the evidentiary value of hair analysis. Based on the new evidence Bridges filed a post-conviction petition requesting a new trial. On October 1, 2015 the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office announced it would not oppose Bridges' petition. Mecklenburg Superior Court Judge Lisa Bell granted Bridges petition on Oct. 1, 2015 and ordered a new trial. The same day Judge Bell ordered Bridges' release from prison. After Bridge's release DNA testing conducted on a man's coat found at the crime scene and a cigarette butt found in one of the coat's pockets, excluded the presence of his DNA. The Mecklenburg County DA's Office filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Bridges that was granted on February 16, 2016. Bridges submitted an application to be pardoned on the basis of his innocence, which granted by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on December 1, 2016. The pardon make Bridges eligible to submit a claim for compensation from the State of North Carolina of $50,000 per year he spent in prison, up to a maximum amount of $750,000. Bridges served 24 years, 7 months in prison after his conviction, so he is eligible for the maximum of $750,000, Bridges filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Charlotte and four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers who he alleged engaged in a pattern of willful and malicious behavior that violated his constitutional rights. Bridges sought $25 million in damages. On December 1, 2017 the City of Charlotte's City Council agreed to settle the lawsuit for $9.5 million."

Conviction Caused By:

Unreliable expert testimony by an FBI Crime Lab analyst that Bridges' hair likely matched two hairs recovered from the crime scene.

Innocence Proved By:

"On February 16, 2016 the motion by the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office to dismiss the charges agaisnt Bridges was granted. Bridges submitted an application to be pardoned on the basis of his innocence, which granted by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on December 1, 2016."

Defendant Aided By:

"Attorney David Rudolf, North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, and the Innocence Project."

Compensation Awarded:

"$9.5 million (City of Charlotte, 12-1-2017)"

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:





Information Source 1:

"A trio of junk forensic science cases, By Radley Balko, Washington Post, March 17, 2016"

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

"Governor McCrory Grants Pardon of Innocence to Timothy Scott Bridges, Press Release, Governor Pat McCrory, December 1, 2016"

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"City settles lawsuit by exonerated rape suspect for record $9.5 million, By Michael Gordon and Steve Harrison (Staff), The Charlotte Observer, December 1, 2017"

Information Location 3:


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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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