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Exonerative DNA Obtained in OIP Case


The Ohio Innocence Project, along with co-counsel at Jones Day in Cleveland, announces  that exonerative DNA test results have been obtained in the case of Ohio inmate Douglas Prade.  Prade is a former Akron Police Captain who was convicted in September 1998 of murdering his ex-wife, Margo Prade, a prominent physician in the Akron area. 

Based on the DNA test results, Mr. Prade has filed a petition for post-conviction relief or for a new trial, which the State has opposed.  A hearing is scheduled for August 21, 2012, before Judge Judy Hunter in the Summit County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas.

At trial, an expert for the State testified that the killer bit Dr. Margo Prade during the struggle, leaving a bite mark impression on her skin.  Results of the recent DNA testing on Dr. Prade’s lab coat over the site of the bite mark exclude Mr. Prade as the source of the male DNA that was found there.  This testing was done by the Fairfield, Ohio DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC).  DDC provided testing in this case free of charge as a public service.  

Subsequent testing requested by the State from its own crime laboratory showed that Mr. Prade also was excluded as the source of any identifiable male DNA found under Margo Prade’s fingernails and, further, that Mr. Prade was not the source of any DNA identified on selected items from the crime scene.     

The OIP has represented Mr. Prade since 2004, with staff attorney Carrie Wood currently handling the case.  The OIP was joined in 2008 by David Alden and Lisa Gates of the Cleveland office of the international law firm Jones Day, which has served as lead counsel since that time.  David Alden successfully argued Mr. Prade’s request for DNA testing in The Supreme Court of Ohio and, after remand, before Judge Hunter.  David Alden and James Young from Jones Day also assisted the OIP in obtaining the 2010 exoneration of Raymond Towler, who had been incarcerated since 1981 for a rape that DNA testing showed he did not commit. 

Students for the OIP who worked on the case through the years include Eva Hager Whitehead, Erik Laursen, Kyle Healey, Eric Eckes, Megan McConnell, Curtis Scribner, Lauren Wimmers, Brent Sigg, Jay Kincaid, Chris Kaiser, Byrd Watts, David Sturkey, Peter Link, Aisha Monem, Jonathan Norman, Ryan McGraw, Julie Kathman, Jimmy Harrison, Levi Daly, Thomas Styslinger, and Scott Leaman.

More details about the case, including the briefs, can be found at www.wrongfulconvictionsblog.org

Date: August 2, 2012

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