Akron cop's daughters insist he's innocent

Posted at 12:10 PM, Jan 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 09:42:06-05

The daughters of a former police captain seeking a new trial in the 1997 slaying of his ex-wife, their mother, said they steadfastly believe he wouldn't have killed her.

Kenya and Sahara Prade told the Akron Beacon Journal in a telephone interview late last month that it wasn't in Douglas Prade's character to kill Dr. Margo Prade, who was found shot to death in a van parked outside her Akron medical office. A jury convicted Douglas Prade of aggravated murder and other charges in 1998, and a judge sentenced him to 26 years to life in prison.

Kenya Prade, who was 12 when her mother was shot to death, said it's "not something I can even fathom."

"I can't imagine that he would ever hurt us and do that to our mom," she said.

Douglas Prade's case has bounced around the Ohio court system since Judge Judy Hunter, who's now retired, freed him in January 2013 after it was learned that male DNA found on Margo Prade's blood-stained lab coat didn't belong to him. The judge ruled that Douglas Prade, who's now 69, should receive a new trial should his exoneration be overturned on appeal. The judge's successor, Judge Christine Croce, sent Prade back to jail and then to prison a year and half later after prosecutors filed a successful appeal.

The new judge held hearings in November to consider arguments about the DNA testing used to exonerate Prade. His defense team, which includes lawyers from the Cincinnati-based Ohio Innocence Project, said there's no physical evidence linking him to his ex-wife's killing. Prosecutors contend there's an abundance of circumstantial evidence that proves he killed her.

The new judge hasn't indicated when she'll rule on Prade's new trial request.

Sahara Prade said prosecutors are conducting a "witch hunt" to keep her father in prison. She dismissed the notion that prosecutors were working on behalf of her family.

"If they were really doing this for the family," she said, "then they would stop pursuing this case forever."