Former Ohio Police Captain Blames Department Conspiracy for his Wrongful Conviction
More than a year after
Ohio Innocence Project
client Douglas Prade was cleared of a 1997 murder based on new DNA testing, he has filed a federal lawsuit in response to his wrongful conviction. Prade served nearly 15 years in prison for the crime.
The Beacon Journal
reported that in Prade’s suit, he says he was framed by most of the Akron Police Department’s commanding officers and investigators for the murder of his ex-wife. Among the 22 people named in the suit is Capt. Mary Myers, who he claims incorrectly performed a gunshot residue test on his hands and destroyed evidence of the botched test and evidence from the case.
In what was described as “the ultimate irony,” the suit says that “officers in the very police department that Douglas Prade had dedicated his career to serving participated in framing him for a crime he did not commit.”
A conspiracy was at work behind the scenes to “fabricate false reports” from the crime scene, Prade’s suit claims, along with various acts of police misconduct, including “witness manipulation, fabrication, destruction and suppression of evidence” as well as perjury at his 1998 Summit County jury trial.
Prade was a former Akron police captain when he was convicted in 1998 of the murder of his ex-wife, Dr. Margo Prade, and sentenced to life in prison. After serving nearly 15 years of the sentence, he was declared innocent by a Summit County judge based on DNA evidence. The suit maintains that the Akron Police Department has yet to find the real perpetrator.
Akron Police Chief James Nice calls the suit outrageous and retired Akron Police Cmdr. Michael Matulavich, who was head of the Detective Bureau at the time of the slaying, called the allegations ridiculous, claiming the investigation was handed off to the Internal Affairs Division.
Even after the judge exonerated Prade on the basis of DNA and other evidence, Ohio prosecutors and law enforcement were not convinced of his innocence. Matulavich still believes they got the right guy when Prade was convicted.
Prade has requested a jury trial to determine unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against each named defendant, along with attorney fees and costs.
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