AKRON, Ohio -- A judge will be asked to issue a bench warrant to have former Akron Police Captain Douglas Prade picked up and returned to prison to serve the rest of his life sentence, according to Brad Gessner with the criminal division of the Summit County Prosecutor's Office.
Prade has been ordered to appear at a status hearing Thursday at 9 a.m.
The 9th district Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that an Akron judge erred when she declared Prade innocent in the murder of his wife, releasing him from prison after serving 14 years of a life sentence.
Prade was convicted in 1998 for the murder of his wife, Dr. Margo Prade, who was found shot to death inside her van behind her medical office building in November 1997.
Margo Prade's sister, Veronica Sadler, reacted to Wednesday's ruling. She told FOX 8 by phone, "My sister is gone and she's resting in peace and we're still suffering, but for them to let Douglas Prade out like they did, I was just so outdone.
He wasn't convicted on DNA on the labcoat, he was convicted because he bit my sister. He did the wiretapping. There were two witnesses and no alibi."
FOX 8 stopped by the home of Douglas Prade's sister, where we learned he has been living, but no one answered.
We also spoke to one of the Prades' two daughters, Kenya, who now lives out of state. She did not want to comment.
FOX 8 also reached out to Judge Hunter, who is now retired, but we were told she also did not want to comment on the ruling.
Prade was freed in January 2013 after Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judith Hunter ruled that no juror would have convicted him if they had seen new DNA evidence taken from a bite mark.
Summit County prosecutors argued before the 9th District Court of Appeals in August that the new DNA evidence was not from a reliable test and that the sample had been contaminated and was unreliable.
In its ruling, published Wednesday, the three-judge panel from the 9th district cited considerable other evidence and testimony from Prade's trial.
In its decision the court said:
"This Court has conducted an exhaustive review of the record in this matter and
has arrived at several conclusions. First, we conclude that, while the results of the post-1998 DNA testing appear at first glance to prove Prade’s innocence, the results, when viewed critically and taken to their logical end, only serve to generate more questions than answers."
The court also concluded:
"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 DNA testing, however, produced exceedingly odd results."
The appeals court also concluded that Prade's 1998 conviction was based on a substantial amount of other circumstantial evidence.
In its conclusion, the appeals court ruled that the original jury had the best opportunity to made a decision on Prade's guilt or innocence, and Judge Hunter erred in making a judgement of "actual innocence" last year.
"Having reviewed the entirety of the evidence, we must conclude that the trial
court abused its discretion when it granted Prade’s PCR petition. Given the enormity of the evidence in support of Prade’s guilt and the fact that the meaningfulness of the DNA exclusion results is far from clear, this Court cannot conclude that Prade set forth clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence. That is, we are not firmly convinced that, given all of the foregoing, "no reasonable fact finder would have found [Prade] guilty."
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