Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter has declared former Akron police Capt. Douglas Prade “actually innocent of aggravated murder” in the killing of his former wife, Dr. Margo Prade. Prade was convicted of her murder in 1997. The judge has ruled that Prade “shall be discharged from prison forthwith.”
Prade was convicted primarily on the testimony of a forensic dentist who indicated that a bite mark made through a lab coat and blouse—which left an impression on Dr. Prade’s arm—came from Douglas Prade.
The Ohio Innocence Project got involved in the case and fought to get DNA testing on the bite area of the lab coat. DNA Diagnostics Center in Fairfield, Ohio, conducted the testing pro bono and determined conclusively that the bite area DNA did not belong to Douglas Prade.
DNA-proven wrongful convictions have revealed the unreliability of bite-mark comparisons in identifying a perpetrator in many cases following Prade’s conviction.
According to ABC News, Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh will appeal the decision. If Hunter’s decision were to be overruled, Prade would be entitled to a new trial.
Congratulations to Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) Director Mark Godsey, OIP attorney Carrie Wood, the entire OIP team, and the law firm of Jones Day for their work over many years on this case.
Read Phil Trexler’s article in the Akron Beacon Journal (here).
Read the ABC News report (here).
Read Summit County Common Please Judge Judy Hunter’s ruling (here).
See earlier comprehensive blog post on this case (here).