What they’re saying

Summit County Judge Judy Hunter, who ordered Douglas Prade released Tuesday based on new DNA evidence:

“The court concludes as a matter of law that the defendant is actually innocent of aggravated murder.”

Kerry O’Brien, veteran Akron criminal defense attorney who defended Prade at trial in 1998:

“I wish we had this kind of sophisticated DNA that we have now in 2012. That was the difference.”

Susan Vogel, Akron attorney who helped present Prade’s defense:

“My only regret is I wish we could have presented the bite-mark evidence a little stronger. But we didn’t. We couldn’t. It was our expert’s first trial and he didn’t know what he knew.”

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh:

“This is a gross misapplication of the law, and we will be appealing Prade’s exoneration.”

Akron Police Chief James Nice:

“All of the evidence clearly points to Prade as Dr. Margo Prade’s killer. He was proven guilty in front of a jury using a substantial amount of other evidence.”

Judge Alison McCarty, who prosecuted Prade in 1998 and parlayed the publicity into winning election to a seat on Summit County Common Pleas Court:

“I respect Judge Hunter, but sometimes judges do disagree. I support Prosecutor Walsh’s appealing of the decision.”

Craig Gilbride, former Akron police captain who led the Prade investigation:

Declined to comment.

Melinda Elkins Dawson, largely credited with exonerating her husband, Clarence, through DNA testing after he served seven years in prison. She also worked to get Prade freed:

“I went to prosecutors a few times on Prade’s case and said, ‘Just release his DNA.’ They wouldn’t. I think there are a lot of people who should be held accountable for their mistakes when something like this happens.”

Clarence Elkins, exonerated former inmate who corresponded in letters with Prade last year:

“I don’t think it will dawn on Doug right away that he has his freedom. It will take a little time. ... I’m just so happy for him that he’s finally got justice and Judge Hunter made the right decision.”

Maurice Terrell, 78, a courthouse shoeshine worker and observer for more than 25 years:

“I thought the Prade trial was a bunch of [nonsense]. The police were just trying to get back at him because he gave them so much hell. I always believed he was innocent.”

Douglas Prade, to a crowd of courtroom spectators after he was convicted of murdering his ex-wife:

“I did not kill Margo.”

A Prade trial juror, in a 1998 interview after the guilty verdict, talking about the bite mark’s importance:

“That’s what it was for me. It just matched.”

Donzella Michele Malone, a close friend of the late Dr. Margo S. Prade and author of Remembering Margo:

Declined to comment.

The Rev. Ronald Fowler, pastor emeritus of Arlington Church of God, whose brother Kenneth is married to Dr. Prade’s sister Frances:

“Just as I accepted the original court’s decision, I am duty-bound to accept its most recent decision. The release of Capt. Prade indicates that we have unfinished work to do. I hope that law enforcement officials will be diligent in the pursuit of the true verdict in regards to the person who committed this horrific act against Dr. Prade.”

— Compiled by Beacon Journal reporters Ed Meyer,

Phil Trexler and Jewell Cardwell.