A Summit County judge has ordered the release of former Akron police Captain Douglas Prade.
He has been in prison for nearly 15 years after being convicted of killing his wife in 1997. Mark Urycki of member station WKSU in Kent reports on a change of fortunes brought about by the University of Cincinnati’s Innocence Project.
Forty-one- year-old Dr. Margo Prade was found shot to death in her van outside her office in November 1997. DNA tests were considered inconclusive at the time, but police linked a bite mark on her arm to her former husband, police Capt. Douglas Prade.
No other physical evidence linked him to the crime. And in a hearing last year, Prade’s attorneys brought in experts to testify that new testing methods prove DNA found at the bite mark came from a male who was not Douglas Prade. Other experts cast doubt on the value of the bite mark evidence.
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Judith Hunter has now concluded that Prade was innocent of aggravated murder and should be released.
The Summit County prosecutor immediately appealed. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Gessner says the county’s experts found the DNA tests were inconclusive and there’s other evidence to consider.
If an appeals court agrees with prosecutors and rejects Douglas Prade’s release, Judge Hunter has already granted him a new trial.