CLEVELAND — More than 46 years after his conviction for murder, 83-year-old Isiah Andrews returned to a Cuyahoga County courtroom Tuesday to be retried on charges he killed his wife Regina Andrews in September 1974.
In 2019 an appeals court found prosecutors failed to disclose to defense attorneys that police initially suspected that another man stabbed Regina Andrews to death.
That second suspect died in 2011, according to court filings in the case.
After serving 46 years behind bars for the crime, Isiah Andrews was released from prison last year and granted a new trial in the case.
"You ask yourself, this is America, how could my fellow man treat me like this?" said Andrews.
Andrews, who now uses a wheelchair and is battling cancer, according to his attorneys, said in his heart he knows he didn't commit the crime.
Investigators said Regina Andrews was stabbed 11 times. Her body was discovered near a parking lot of the Forest Hills swimming pool in Cleveland.
Now, despite the deaths of six of the prosecution's original witnesses and missing pieces of evidence, the case is set to move forward once again.
"Yes, it’s not ideal to be retrying this case years later, but there’s been no showing that any evidence was destroyed in bad faith or that any evidence with apparent exculpatory value has been lost," said Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Miranda in court Tuesday.
But Andrews's defense team is steadfast in their belief that he is innocent and said the decision by prosecutors to re-try the case without any physical evidence linking him to the crime doesn't make sense.
"Whatever their interest is, I don’t know," said defense attorney Marcus Sidoti. "But it’s gross and it’s disgusting and I assure you this team is prepared. We’re bringing this trial for Isiah Andrews."
When asked about the decision to re-try the case after 46 years, a spokesperson for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley's office said in a statement this is a pending matter and declined to comment further.