After serving nearly 30 years on death row in Louisiana’s Angola prison, Glenn Ford has been set free and exonerated of the murder charge that placed him there. A Louisiana District Court judge vacated Ford’s murder conviction Monday. The move makes Ford one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the nation’s history to be set free.
Ford, an African-American, was convicted in 1984 by an all-white jury for the previous year’s murder of Isadore Rozeman. who ran a jewelry store in Shreveport, La. The case had gained notoriety for its many troubling flaws, including the fact that Ford’s original lawyers were woefully inexperienced and had never tried a murder case. Furthermore, one witness at the trial who had originally told police Ford was the killer later testified that she had lied to investigators. The woman, Marvella Brown, turned out to be the girlfriend of another man, Jake Robinson, who was implicated and charged in the crime. The charges against Robinson were later dropped as prosecutors chose to pursue Ford, reports CBS News.
The Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana helped Ford in his fight for exoneration. Attorneys with the project, Gary Clements and Aaron Novod, represented Ford.
"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,” the two were quoted as saying by CNN following news of the judge’s decision.
The ruling to release Ford came after prosecutors in Louisiana indicated they could no longer stand behind his conviction. The state notified Ford’s attorneys in late 2013 that they had new information implicating another man who had originally been suspected in the murder.
"My mind's going all kinds of directions, but it feels good,” Ford said as he left the Louisiana prison on Tuesday. He said he does harbor some resentment though.
"I've been locked up almost 30 years for something I didn't do," he said. "I can't go back and do anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40, stuff like that.”
Ford is now 64. Under Louisiana law, he is entitled to receive $25,000 per year for each year he served, up to $250,000, plus another $80,000 for loss of “life opportunities.”