News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Courts and Crime


Former Akron Police Capt. Prade is released from prison
A Summit County judge says he's innocent
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Former Akron Police Capt. Douglas Prade is released from prison, declared innocent of killing his wife more than 15 years ago.
Courtesy of WKYC
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Former Akron Police Capt. Douglas Prade has been found innocent of aggravated murder. He’s been in prison for nearly 15 years after being convicted of killing his wife, Dr. Margo Prade. But testimony by forensic experts last year led Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Judith Hunter to order Prade release today.  WKSU’s Mark Urycki has details.

URYCKI: Douglas Prade's road to freedom

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:27)


It all came down to the bite mark. In 1998, it was a bite mark on the arm of Dr. Margo Prade that led jurors to decide her police officer husband killed her. This time it was DNA at the bite mark that set him free.

Dr. Prade was found shot to death in her minivan in the parking lot of her office in November 1997.

There were no witnesses. No fingerprints. The DNA evidence was inconclusive.

But there was that bite mark.  And evidence that her ex-husband Douglas Prade had been taping her phone calls.  

'Let the chips fall'
The lead investigator in the case was Akron police officer Ed Duvall, who told WKYC TV 3 at the time that Douglas Prade was his partner in Internal Affairs.

“My No. 1 objective and the team’s No. 1 objective would be to locate and arrest the killer of Dr. Margo Prade. And our policy and credo is basically the chips fall where they may, and if the evidence focuses on one of our own brothers and sisters, then so be it.”

Duvall died in 2008. But that evidence he talked about has been questioned by the University of Cincinnati’s Innocence Project, which has been on the case for four years.  They brought in Cleveland attorney David Alden, who argued that matching Douglas Prade’s teeth to the bite marks on the victim was not reliable.

“Even the state’s expert on bite marks at the October hearing said a bite mark can only be used in a narrow set of circumstances, which even he agreed weren’t present here. … Their bite mark expert at this hearing in October eviscerated all of the bite mark testimony they gave in 1998.”

DNA's reliability
In releasing Prade, Judge Hunter agreed that those experts debunked the notion of bite mark matches.

DNA was another matter. Judge Hunter wrote that whoever bit Dr. Prade was no doubt her killer and new testing methods for DNA -- called the Y chromosome Short Tandem Repeat test -- did identify a male. But it was not Douglas Prade.

Summit County’s Assistant Chief Prosecutor Brad Gessner argues that’s not what the state’s experts found.

“The DNA evidence experts from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified before the judge that this DNA was unreliable and contaminated.”

Other charges stand
What’s more, Gessner says there was other evidence --  that Capt. Prade had been stalking his ex-wife and that he had wire-tapped her phone calls.

“They were separate charges tried in the same case, (and) those convictions stand. So he was convicted on six counts of interception of wire, oral or electronic communications and one count of possessing criminal tools.”

And that’s still not enough, ruled Judge Hunter. She said witnesses who thought they saw Douglas Prade at the scene of the crime were not credible; nor was the testimony that Margo Prade had feared her ex-husband.

Hunter wrote that after all the new evidence is taken into account, “the Court is firmly convinced that no reasonable juror would convict the Defendant for the crime of aggravated murder.”  

Prosecutors have asked for a stay to keep Prade in jail, and filed an appeal with the 9th District Court of Appeals. But if the appeal is successful, Judge Hunter has already granted Douglas Prade a new trial.

 

 

 

 

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

The postal workers union is challenging mail-sorting closures in Ohio
Do not close the akron facilaty for mail processing. This will severly deminish mail service to the northeast ohio area, Cleveland can not handle this burden.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park OK's sharpshooters to thin deer herds
In this article you mention that the Mule Deer Foundation is a "hunting group" in reality the Mule Deer Foundation is a conservation group that is over 25 years...

Clarence Bozeman: In the driver's seat of history
I believe he was a teacher of mine as James Ford Rhodes. My favorite teacher of all time! Loved learning this part of his amazing history.

Cleveland RTA is moving Public Square bus stops beginning this week
I am very confused. Why are you taking one or more of the park and ride 246 out of service in the morning. I looking over the new schedule I see that there ar...

Canton school board will vote Wednesday on its high school merger
Great to see that THE REPOSITORY is advising a 'no' vote for now! Another point, besides all the Very accurate points already made against this move is the fac...

Some parents opting their students out of Common Core test
I am an 8th grader at a school in Allen County. I have just recently taken the ELA performance based assessment and found it extremely difficult. It asked me a ...

Fallout from the Ohio Supreme Court Munroe Falls ruling
The comment by Nathan Johnson from OEC is confusing. Instead of cities being 'emboldened' to craft zoning laws that were just stricken down by this ruling, comm...

Stopping sediment dumping in Lake Erie
Ah, yes, the Army Coro of Engineers, the geniuses that designed the levee system in New Orleans that has made the flooding worse due to no sediment reaching the...

Ohio charter school critic says reform bills are a good step
The cold truth is that these charter schools are offering services beyond the what the state tests can guage. Parents and students have a choice and they are ch...

State law trumps restrictions on oil and gas drilling in Munroe Falls
Justice O'Neill's quote brings up a point I wish WKSU would address: since, unlike for Federal judges, our judges here in Ohio are elected, and therefore respo...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University