Ronnie Bullock

Convicted of rape on the strength of mistaken identification by two little girls

Ronnie Bullock was wrongfully convicted in 1984 of the rape of a 9-year-old girl on the south side of Chicago the previous year.

Bullock was arrested several weeks after the crime because he lived in the neighborhood where the crime occurred and resembled a man depicted in a composite sketch by the victim and another girl, age 12, who had been the victim of a similar attack. Both girls identified Bullock in a lineup. His conviction rested solely on their erroneous identification testimony.

Bullock was exonerated in 1994 after DNA testing established conclusively that he had not committed the crime. Four years later, Governor Jim Edgar granted Bullock a pardon based on innocence.

Case Data

Jurisdiction: Cook County, Illinois
Date of crime: March 18, 1983
Date of arrest: May 1983
Charge: Deviate sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.
Sentence: Concurrent terms of 60 years (deviate sexual assault) and 15 years (aggravated kidnapping)
Release date: November 23, 1994
Months wrongfully incarcerated: 137
Date of birth: October 13, 1955
Age at time of arrest: 27
Sex: Male
Defendant race: African American
Age(s) of victim(s): 9
Sex of victim(s): Female
Race of victim(s): African American
Defendant prior felony record: Bullock had a prior conviction for rape.
Known factors leading to wrongful conviction: Mistaken eyewitness identification by victim and another child victim of a similar attack
Did an appellate court ever affirm conviction? Yes
Exonerated by: Dismissal of charges and gubernatorial pardon
Compensation for wrongful imprisonment: The pardon based on innocence entitled him to automatic compensation through the Illinois Court of Claims.

— Rob Warden