A Louisiana man who spent nearly 26 years on death row walked out of prison Tuesday, hours after a judge overturned his first-degree murder conviction and death sentence, citing new evidence in the case.
Glenn Ford, 64, was convicted in the 1983 robbery and murder of 56-year-old Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport jeweler and watchmaker, who was found dead behind the counter of his shop. After new evidence came to light, a judge in Shreveport reportedly ordered Ford's release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, where he had been held on death row since March 1985.
“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,” said Gary Clements and Aaron Novod, attorneys for Ford from the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, according to Reuters, adding that Ford's trial had been "profoundly compromised by inexperienced counsel and by the unconstitutional suppression of evidence, including information from an informant."
Pam Laborde, a prison spokesperson, reportedly informed local media that Ford was released late Tuesday afternoon.
Ford told WAFB-TV after his release: “It feels good; my mind is going in all kind of directions. It feels good." Ford added that he felt bad about losing years of his life behind bars and said: "I can't go back and do anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40 stuff like that.”
According to reports, Ford had filed multiple appeals for almost three decades claiming his innocence but most of them were denied. But, in 2000, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered that evidence in Ford’s case would be scrutinized after concluding that the prosecution suppressed some evidence that would have worked in Ford's favor, and was related to Jake and Henry Robinson, two brothers who were initially linked to the crime.
According to Reuters, prosecutors filed a motion last Thursday to vacate Ford's conviction and sentence, saying that “credible evidence” from late 2013 came to their attention "supporting a finding that Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman."
According to a Louisiana law, people who have served imprisonment but are later exonerated are entitled to receive compensation of $25,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration up to a maximum of $250,000, plus up to $80,000 for loss of "life opportunities," according to Associated Press.