My name is Clarence Elkins. I was exonerated through the efforts of the Ohio Innocence Project, then-Attorney General Jim Petro and, most important, DNA testing.
The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office argued that the DNA test results in my case did not prove my innocence, and they viciously fought against my exoneration and freedom even after it was clear I was innocent.
They were wrong then, and they are wrong now in Douglas Prade’s case.
The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, in its fight to keep an innocent man in prison in 2005, pointed to all the trial witnesses who said I was the only one with a motive. These witnesses had exaggerated and made things worse than what was true.
Prosecutors also relied on a shaky eyewitness identification to keep me, an innocent man, in prison.
When I hear the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office making all these same claims about Prade and his case, all these terrible memories come rushing back. When I read the prosecutors’ comments about Prade, it made me feel sick.
I met Prade in jail and have followed his case since. He is innocent. The same trial attorneys prosecuted both of us, and they somehow got witnesses to spin things to make it look much worse for us than what was actually true.
After the DNA test results came back, only people who have a political motive, or who haven’t closely followed the details of the science, would say Prade is guilty.
The bite mark evidence has proved to be complete junk, and no credible scientist would say it convicts Prade.
The eyewitnesses in his case all had problems that make them unreliable. His conviction was not solid even before the DNA testing was done. The DNA and other scientific breakthroughs have exonerated him.
Instead of wasting their time trying to put an innocent man back in prison, prosecutors should be out trying to find the real killer.
But they won’t do that. In my case, someone else had to find the real killer — Earl Mann — for them.
They say that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Seems to me that the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office has failed to study its flawed history and is repeating the same mistake it made in my case. The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office needs a history lesson.
Looking for the killer
Now that Doug Prade has been found innocent of his wife’s murder, all you have to do is find someone who looks enough like him to fool a witness who knew Prade and thought it was him, a murderer who has an upper set of false teeth and lower teeth that leave the same bite marks as Prade’s, a murderer who was hanging out in a fenced-in lot first thing in the morning and who’ll flunk a polygraph, just like Prade did.
Well, he won’t be too hard to find, will he?
All charged up
I often park in the downtown parking decks. While I do not have an electric car that needs charging, I do have a gas-powered car.
On occasion, I may have anxiety about the level of gas in my tank — could the city put a free gas pump for me in the decks?
I like the idea of the charging station, but there should be a charge for this service.