Dr. Margo Prade of Akron, Ohio, was shot 6 times in her van in the parking lot in front of her Akron medical practice. It was the day before Thanksgiving 1997. Police were initially baffled by the murder; however, her ex-husband Douglas Prade was evenutally convicted.
Margo had struggled with her attacker receiving many defensive wounds. She also received a bite mark on her arm, which would turn out to be a key piece of evidence in her husband’s conviction.
A few months later, her husband Douglas Prade, a 29 year veteran of the Akron police, was arrested. The couple was allegedly going through a particularly contentious divorce with Douglas refusing to sign a divorce decree, which would have prevented him from collecting $75,000 in life insurance.
Prosecutors argued that Douglas had been harassing his ex-wife, including threatening and even assaulting her on occasion. It was also discovered that he had also been illegally wiretapping her phone. Prosecutors stated that Margo was terrified of her former husband.
Dr. Thomas Marshall, an expert in forensic odontology/dentistry, gave key testimony in convicting Douglas of the crime. He stated that comparisons between the victim’s bitemark and Douglas’s dentures meant that the former police captain must have been the attacker.
Doubt has since been cast on the validity of this testimony, and improvements in forensic science have further muddied the water.
In 2013 Douglas was actually released from prison. A new examination of samples taken from the crime scene seemed to indicate that DNA from an individual other than Douglas was present. Therefore, a judge ordered his release.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that the judge had overstepped their boundary, and within a few months, Douglas was ordered back to jail.
Douglas has emphatically maintained his innocence and has appealed his conviction on numerous occasions. His two daughters have also argued his innocence, and there is an ongoing campaign to secure his freedom.
In November 2019, the Supreme Court ruled against the former police captain, denying his request for a new trial. He will be eligible for parole in 2025.
See the details of the case on The Devil Speaks at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.
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