After 30 years on Louisiana’s death row, Glenn Ford is a free man. The 64-year-old was convicted in the 1983 murder of Isadore Rozeman and sentenced to death. Although he was innocent of the crime, Ford spent three decades on death row.
Isadore Rozeman was found dead inside his jewelry store on November 5, 1983. Authorities concluded that the watchmaker was shot and killed during a robbery. Ford was identified as a suspect, as he occasionally did yard work for the victim.
As reported by Huffington Post, Jake and Henry Robinson were also identified as suspects in the murder. However, prosecutors cloaked evidence against the brothers and pursued Ford as their primary suspect.
In 1984, Ford was convicted and sentenced to death by electrocution. Critics argued that the all-white jury was biased and prosecutors withheld crucial evidence that may have implicated the Robinson brothers.
In 1985, Glenn Ford was transferred to Louisiana State Penitentiary’s death row. He spent the next 30 years filing appeals and trying to prove his innocence. In 2000, the Louisiana Supreme Court reviewed the case. However, Ford remained incarcerated.
In 2013, the state received credible evidence implicating Jake Robinson in Rozeman’s murder. According to prosecutors, a reliable informant revealed that Robinson confessed to killing the watchmaker. Last week, prosecutors filed a motion to vacate Ford’s conviction.
As stated in the motion, the new evidence supports “a finding that Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman.” The prosecution also admits that if the evidence was presented in 1983, “Ford might not even have been arrested or indicted.”
CNN reports that Glenn Ford’s exoneration and release were supported by numerous agencies, including Capital Post Conviction Project and Amnesty International USA. To date, Ford was “Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner.”
Amnesty International senior campaigner Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris discusses Ford’s conviction and exoneration:
“Glenn Ford is living proof of just how flawed our justice system truly is. We are moved that Mr. Ford, an African-American man convicted by an all-white jury, will be able to leave death row a survivor.”
The Innocence Project has worked tirelessly to free wrongly convicted felons. Since their inception, the organization has recorded the exoneration of 312 United States inmates, including 18 who were on death row.
A majority of the inmates were black men living in poverty. The Innocence Project blames wrongful convictions on racism, improper forensic testing, overzealous authorities, eyewitness misidentification, and coerced confessions.
In the case of Glenn Ford, critics blame inexperienced counsel and the prosecution’s suppression of key evidence. As he lost 30 years of his life on death row, Ford is ready to start living.
[Image via Edmonton Journal]