Created on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 Written by JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press
A judge was wrong to release a former Ohio police captain who spent nearly 15 years in prison for his ex-wife's killing after new testing of a bite mark cast doubt on his conviction, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The decision comes a little more than a year after Douglas Prade was freed by a Summit County judge who ruled that DNA tests of the bite mark on Dr. Margo Prade's lab coat showed that the DNA did not match that of her ex-husband.
The judge ruled that was convincing evidence of Prade's innocence and ordered his release in January 2013.
But Ohio's 9th District Court of Appeals said the DNA testing only raised more questions than answers and that Prade's original conviction was based on a great deal of evidence.
"Without a doubt, Prade was excluded as a contributor of the DNA that was found in the bite mark section of Margo's lab coat," the ruling said. "The DNA testing, however, produced exceedingly odd results."
Each sample produced completely different results, the appeals court said.
Prade, who has maintained his innocence, was convicted in 1998 of shooting his ex-wife inside her van at the parking lot of her office. There were no witnesses and no fingerprints, and no gun was found after the November 1997 shooting.
A test of the lab coat fabric showed it contained at least two and as many as five DNA profiles and none matched the former Akron police captain's DNA.
A Summit County assistant prosecutor told the appeals court in August that the findings showed a possibility that the bite mark evidence was contaminated, perhaps before Prade was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility in 26 years.
Prade's attorney said new tests based on improved technology found only that the DNA came from a male, but not Prade.