Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Death row man freed after 26 years

Glenn Ford leaves a maximum security prison after having spent nearly 26 years on death row (AP/WAFB-TV 9)
Glenn Ford leaves a maximum security prison after having spent nearly 26 years on death row (AP/WAFB-TV 9)

A man who spent nearly 26 years on death row in Louisiana has walked free, hours after a judge approved the state's motion to strike out the man's murder conviction for the 1983 killing of a jeweller.

Glenn Ford, 64, had been on death row since August 1988 in connection with the death of 56-year-old Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport jeweller and watchmaker for whom Ford had done occasional yard work. Ford always denied killing Mr Rozeman.

Mr Ford walked out the maximum security prison at Angola, said Pam Laborde, a spokeswoman for Louisiana's Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

As he walked away from the prison gates, Mr Ford told WAFB-TV: "It feels good, my mind is going in all kind of directions. It feels good."

He told the broadcaster he does harbour some resentment at being wrongly jailed: "I've been locked up almost 30 years for something I didn't do.

"I can't go back and do anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40, stuff like that," he added.

State district judge Ramona Emanuel took the step of voiding Mr Ford's conviction and sentence based on new information that corroborated his claim that he was not present or involved in Mr Rozeman's death, his lawyers said.

Mr Ford was tried and convicted of first-degree murder in 1984 and sentenced to death.

"We are very pleased to see Glenn Ford finally exonerated, and we are particularly grateful that the prosecution and the court moved ahead so decisively to set Mr Ford free," said a statement from Gary Clements and Aaron Novod, lawyers from the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana.

They said Mr Ford's trial had been "profoundly compromised by inexperienced counsel and by the unconstitutional suppression of evidence, including information from an informant".

They also cited what they said was a suppressed police report related to the time of the crime and evidence involving the murder weapon.

Currently, there are 83 men and two women on death row in Louisiana.

A Louisiana law entitles those who have served time but are later exonerated to receive compensation.

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