Persons who have been wrongfully convicted often speak of what kept them going while incarcerated. Some find hope through music, their families, or higher powers. For Douglas Prade, it was a diary. In it contained the names of all the students who worked on his case during the past ten years. Every year he would add new names and cross out previous ones, giving him hope that one day he would be a free man.
After many years of appeals and applications for post-conviction DNA, Prade was declared innocent and walked out court a free man on January 29, 2013 for the murder of his wife. Congratulations to all involved. The Ohio Innocence Project worked feverishly for years in order to produce a compelling case with DNA results against the State of Ohio for his wrongful conviction.
Margo Prade was a highly respected doctor and Doug Prade was a police captain awaiting a promotion to become Akron, Ohio’s newest police chief.
In November of 1997, Dr. Margo Prade was found fatally shot in her car outside her medical facility in Akron. Testimony from two eyewitnesses that placed him at the scene of the crime as well as a forensic dentist claiming the bite mark on Margo’s jacket belonged to Doug, left him with little hope.
In 1998, Judge Mary Spicer sentenced Douglas to a life in prison for aggravated murder.
As one of the largest high profile murder cases in Ohio, Douglas Prade maintained his innocence. Douglas filed multiple applications for post-conviction DNA testing. In 2010, testing was granted; the Court declared new methods had arose which had invalidated previous DNA testing done in the murder case. After expert testimony and questioning was completed, Judge Judy Hunter claimed, “the evidence was clear and convincing.” The DNA testing performed on the sleeve of Margo’s lab coat eliminated the possibility of Douglas as the victim’s killer. In that moment, the Court overturned his convictions and was ordered to be released from prison.
Congratulations to Douglas Prade and to the Ohio Innocence Project as their hard work and dedication made this exoneration possible.