The Ohio chapter of theInnocence Project played a major role in helping Doug Prade win his exoneration. Prade had a murder conviction vacated Tuesday after serving nearly 15 years in prison.
TheInnocence Project is focused on using DNA testing to free people wrongly convicted of crimes.
Itis a non-profit legal organization formed in 1992 by defense attorneys Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld. The project was formed after a study by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate found that incorrect identifications by eyewitnesses was a factor in 70 percent of wrongful convictions.
To date, the Innocence Project has been instrumental in freeing more than 300 defendants who had been wrongfully imprisoned including 18 that had been on death row.
In Ohio, Doug Prade is the 11th person to have a conviction vacated due to the work of the Innocence Project.Those include Clarence Elkins who issued this statement in a release from the Innocence Project: "I am overjoyed to hear that Doug will finally be vindicated. I got to know Doug a little bit in jail. I was so happy that Judge Judy Hunter finally granted DNA testing to Prade after 8 long years of fighting the DNA tests. The results of the DNA tests proving Doug innocent don't surprise me at all. I will pray going forward that the Summit County Prosecutors will not fight this the way they did with my case for so long, and that Prade and I will share freedom together before long. I can't wait to welcome him on the outside."
In Northeast Ohio some of the defendants set free through the work of the Innocence Project after being exonerated by DNA include:
- David Ayers: Released in 2011 after serving 11 years for aggravated murder
- Raymond Towler: Released in 2010 after serving more than 28 years in prison on rape, kidnapping
- Clarence Elkins: Released in 2005 after serving 6.5 years for rape and murder
- Donte Booker: Released in 2005 after serving 15 years for rape, kidnapping
- Michael Green: Release in 2001 after serving 13 years for rape, aggravate robbery
Read more about the cases at: http://www.innocenceproject.org/know/Browse-Profiles.php