New tests show crime scene DNA did not come from a former Akron police captain convicted of killing his ex-wife more than a decade ago. But will that be enough to order a new trial or give Doug Prade his freedom?
UPDATED 2:43 p.m.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, however, says the evidence is not compelling enough to warrant Prade's release from prison and offers "...no new evidence that proves Prade's claim of evidence.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judith Hunter has set a hearing for August 21 on a motion from the Ohio Innocence Project, which has championed Prade's cause.
Prade, 66, is serving a life sentence in prison after he was found guilty of shooting his ex-wife, Akron doctor Margo Prade, in 1998.
Carrie Wood, an attorney with the Ohio Innocence Project, says DNA from a bite mark was found on the lab coat Margo was wearing when the attack took place.
"The test results that were announced today, found male DNA inside that bite mark area which excluded Mr. Prade," Wood said.
The DNA testing shows it was a man who left the bite mark, but it was not from Doug Prade.
"Today is the day where validated DNA science and the truth triumph over junked science and a wrongful conviction," said Wood in a prepared statement.
Attorneys with the Ohio Innocence Project have filed a motion asking a Summit County Common Pleas judge to grant Prade a new trial.
This afternoon there was a response from the Summit County Prosecutor's Office to the Prade DNA report.
Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced that a hearing has been set for August 21 in the Prade case.
"No one in my office wants to see an innocent person behind bars,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “We requested extensive DNA testing well beyond what the Innocence Project requested, and we have carefully reviewed all of the available evidence. There is no new evidence that proves Mr. Prade’s claim of innocence. The jury’s verdict should not be overturned.”
Walsh says in briefs filed with the Court, the State pointed out several flaws in Prade’s theory. "This new DNA evidence does not identify any new suspect, nor do we know when this DNA was deposited on the lab coat. According to Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation experts, the DNA is most likely a result of incidental transfer."
At the next hearing, Judge Judy Hunter’s determination will result in one of three potential actions:
Prade is innocent and therefore his case should be dismissed,
There is new evidence to warrant a new trial, or
There is no new evidence and the conviction should stand.