He had already spent nearly 15 years in prison for the killing of his ex-wife, but somehow on Thursday morning former Akron, Ohio officer Douglas Prade found himself in custody once again while at a morning hearing, the Associated Press reports.
An appeals court had found the judge who freed him based on DNA testing—showing that a bite-mark did not belong to him—was in the wrong. However, Prade did manage to secure his freedom once more by the afternoon, with the Ohio Supreme Court temporarily blocking the appeals court ruling.
“This has been a crazy day, but you guys seem to forget I spent 15 years in hell,” Prade told reporters as he left the jail.
According to AP, prosecutors were hoping to send Prade back to jail, but his attorneys are struggling to retain his freedom as he takes his appeal to the high court. It is still unknown whether they will pick up his case or not.
Prade was released in January 2013, following a judge ruling that there was evidence of his innocence based off the bite mark found on his ex-wife’s lab coat, which did not match his own. However, on Wednesday, Ohio’s 9th District Court of Appeals said the tests did not serve as an end to all the questions.
“Without a doubt, Prade was excluded as a contributor of the DNA that was found in the bite mark section of Margo’s lab coat,” the ruling said, according to AP. “The DNA testing, however, produced exceedingly odd results.” Each sample produced completely different results, the appeals court said.
“While it is indisputable that there was only one killer, at least two partial male profiles were uncovered within the bite mark,” the ruling continued.
And prosecutors are holding on to any possible fight to get Prade behind bars. “In order to be exonerated, Prade and his attorneys needed to show clear and convincing evidence of his innocence—not simply create doubt,” county Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh had said, the AP notes. “They failed.”
Prade’s case is indeed curious. There were no witnesses to the 1997 murder of the 41-year-old family practitioner, who was shot in her vehicle outside her office. No fingerprints were ever uncovered, and no gun was ever found.
Prade was convicted in the case in 1998.