The high profile murder case that found Douglas Prade, a former Akron police captain, guilty of murdering his former wife, Margo Prade, has been re-examined in light of the results of a recent DNA test.
The 1998 murder case hinged on bite marks on Margo Prade’s lab coat, said to be left by the killer. A successful Akron doctor, Prade was shot to death in her van the parking lot of her office.
At the time of the trial, an expert said that the bite mark matched Prade’s teeth, but in 1998, DNA testing was not reliable enough to be entered into evidence and was not used. However, one expert at the time testified that there would be DNA evidence on the coat in the future.
Prade has maintained his innocence throughout the years that have passed. Following his 1998 conviction he told the court, “I didn’t do this…I am an innocent convicted person. God, myself, Margo and the person who killed Margo all know I’m innocent.”
He first requested that a DNA test be run in 2004, the year Ohio law granted the right to DNA testing to the state’s inmates. The ensuing legal battle over approval of his request left him sitting in prison for eight more years.
Finally, in 2010, Judge Judy Hunter, Summit County Court of Common Pleas, heard the case and granted the testing, which excluded Prade as the source. Later, the State’s crime lab provided further evidence of his innocence by ruling him out as the source of male DNA found under the victim’s fingernails or on any other evidence at the crime scene.
A hearing is scheduled August 21, 2012 to deal with a petition filed for “post-conviction relief or a new trial.” The Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, including many students, has worked on the case since 2004.