Former Ohio police captain Doug Prade was exonerated after spending almost 15 years in prison for his ex-wife’s murder. A judge ruled on Tuesday that DNA test results prove that Prade is innocent. The Summit County Court of Common Pleas judge also noted that no jury would have convicted the police captain upon seeing the DNA test results.
Judge Judy Hunter ordered a new trial for the 66-year-old former Ohio police officer. Doug Prade’s attorney Carrie Wood had this to say about the judge’s ruling:
“This was a very humble and thankful Doug. There was no ‘I told you so.’ There was only joy that is was finally recognized by the court and that he might get to come home to his family today.”
Attorney Wood works for the Ohio Innocence Project based in Cincinnati, according to Fox News. The incarcerated Ohio police officer reportedly broke down in tears before composing himself and being able to speak.
Although Prade may be rejoicing about his pending freedom at the moment, the case in far from settled. Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh considers Judge Hunter’s finding s a “gross misapplication” of the law. The prosecuting attorney had this to say about the Doug Prade case:
“We have not seen any credible evidence that suggests innocence, and we are taking all available actions to keep a dangerous killer off the streets.”
Margo Prade, the Ohio police captain’s ex-wife, was found dead inside her minivan after being shot six times. The murder of the 41-year-old Akron doctor occurred in 1997. There were no witnesses to the murder, no fingerprints left at the scene, and no gun was ever found. The only physical evidence in the case was a bite mark on Margo Prade’s arm, the Akron Beacon Journal notes. Her attacker reportedly bit her so hard that an impression was on her lab cost and blouse.
During Doug Prade’s trial, a defense expert said the officer’s teeth could not have left the mark. A forensic dentist testified that the Ohio cop was the impression culprit. A third expert testifying for the prosecution stated the bite mark was consistent with Prade’s teeth, but there was no way to be certain the defendant had left the mark.
If the higher court in Ohio agreed with the prosecuting attorney and overturns Judge Hunter’s ruling, Doug Prade would be facing the same charges in a new trial.