Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh says her office will appeal Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter's ruling exonerating Douglas Prade of the murder of Dr. Margo Prade.
"This is a gross misapplication of the law, and we will be appealing Prade's exoneration," Walsh said in a Jan. 29 news release. "The defendant had to present new evidence so convincing that no juror would have found him guilty, and he failed to do so. The DNA evidence presented by the Ohio Innocence Project on behalf of Prade is contaminated and unreliable. It does not prove innocence."
As recounted in the news release, Dr. Margo Prade was found shot to death in her minivan outside her medical practice in November 1997. Her husband, Akron Police Capt. Douglas Prade, was convicted of her murder, along with wiretapping charges, and sentenced to life in prison. The Ohio Innocence Project took up Prade's claim of innocence and petitioned the court for his release or at least a new trial. They based their motion on additional DNA testing that they say excludes Prade as a contributor to the partial male DNA profiles present in the area where Dr. Margo Prade was bitten. DNA experts from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, however, interpret the test results as insufficient and unreliable and most likely proof of contamination or mistakes.
"We are disappointed in Judge Hunter's opinion exonerating Doug Prade," said Akron Police Department Chief James Nice in the release. "All of the evidence clearly points to Prade … He was proven guilty in front of a jury using a substantial amount of other evidence."
"Senior prosecutors in my office, none of whom were involved in the original prosecution against Douglas Prade, have reviewed this case and agree with the jury's interpretation of the facts and evidence," said Walsh. "All of the evidence points to Prade as the person who murdered Dr. Margo Prade … We have not seen any credible evidence that suggests innocence …"