Death Penalty

Death-row inmate released after 30 years; evidence shows he was elsewhere at time of murder

  • Print.

Glenn Ford has been saying for 30 years that he is innocent in the 1983 slaying of a jeweler and watch repairman for whom he did yard work.

And now, the state of Louisiana says in a motion to vacate (PDF) his conviction and sentence, that it has the evidence to back his claims.

“In late 2013, credible evidence came to the attention of the undersigned to supporting [sic] a finding that Glenn Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman,” prosecutors wrote in the Thursday filing. It was provided by the Shreveport Times.

A judge has granted the motion in the Caddo Parish case, and Ford is expected to be released at some point Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. After 30 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, he is one of the longest-serving inmates on death row ever to win exoneration.

Ford, a black man convicted by an all-white jury in 1984 despite a lack of eyewitness and forensic evidence, was defended by civil lawyers who had never tried a jury case, according to the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.) and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Experts for the prosecution testified against Ford without solid bases for their findings, and Ford’s defense lawyers, under the mistaken impression that they themselves would have to pay for the costs of expert witnesses, did not present any competing testimony, news reports now say.

Meanwhile, prosecutors withheld evidence that could have helped Ford’s defense, and appellate courts upheld his conviction despite what judges recognized as a troubling lack of evidence.

Ford was represented by the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana in his successful effort to win his release.

The actual killer of Rozeman has never been convicted, and it remains to be seen whether a new prosecution will be pursued against a new suspect or suspects.

A Shreveport Times article from last year provides additional details about the case.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.