The Fight to Prove Billy Glaze’s Innocence Continues
By Ariana Costakes
The Innocence Project is continuing to work with the
Minnesota Innocence Project
to exonerate Billy Glaze, who spent 25 years in prison for the murders of three Native American women before his death in 2015.
In 2014, the Innocence Project, the Minnesota Innocence Project and the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney uncovered DNA evidence from two of the crime scenes which excluded Glaze and matched to a convicted rapist. Glaze’s legal team filed a motion for a new trial based in part on the new DNA evidence, but Glaze died before the judge ruled on the motion and prosecutors moved to have the case dismissed, saying a retrial was no longer necessary.
Glaze’s attorneys argue that the case should continue. If the wrong man died in prison for crimes someone else committed and the actual perpetrator remains on the streets, they say, it is very much a matter of public interest.
“The real guy is still out there,” Minnesota Innocence Project Legal Director Julie Jonas told the
. “A known rapist’s DNA was found at two of these crime scenes and we’re just ignoring it?”
This is the first time a Minnesota judge has been faced with the decision as to whether attorneys for a deceased client can proceed with a DNA exoneration attempt. In the past, courts in both Florida and Texas have allowed posthumous exonerations.
Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Olga Akselrod says that after working on the case for nearly nine years, she hopes for vindication for Glaze and real justice for the victims.
“His dying wish was to clear his name,” Akselrod said. “We are continuing the fight to fulfill that wish.”
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