Glenn Ford, 64, a black man, was convicted by an all-white jury in
the 1983 robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman, a 56-year-old
Shreveport watchmaker, who was found shot to death behind the
counter of his jewelry shop.
Acting on new information that exonerated Ford, a judge in
Shreveport ordered him released from Louisiana State Penitentiary in
Angola, where he has been held on death row since March 1985.
Ford was released late on Tuesday afternoon, local media reported.
"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.
Prison spokeswoman Pam Laborde said shortly before 5 p.m. local time
that Ford was being processed, but she had not yet received
confirmation of his release.
Ford, a California native who did occasional yard work for Rozeman,
was found guilty in 1984 and was sentenced to die by electrocution,
then the state's method of execution.
For three decades, Ford has maintained his innocence and filed
multiple appeals, most of which were denied.
But in 2000, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary
hearing on Ford's claim that the prosecution suppressed favorable
evidence related to Jake and Henry Robinson, two brothers initially
implicated in the crime.
According to the Shreveport Times, court records show that an
unidentified informant in 2013 told prosecutors that Jake Robinson
admitted to shooting and killing Rozeman.
[to top of second column]
Last Thursday, prosecutors filed a motion to vacate Ford's
conviction and sentence, saying that in late 2013 "credible
evidence" came to their attention "supporting a finding that Ford
was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder
of Isadore Rozeman."
If prosecution had been privy to the information initially, the
motion said, "Ford might not even have been arrested or indicted for
Caddo Parish Assistant District Attorney Catherine Estopinal
declined on Tuesday to elaborate on what she termed "a recent
development" that prompted prosecutors to reverse course.
"I can't go into it," she said.
(Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson;
editing by Brendan
O'Brien, G. Crosse, Lisa Shumaker and Ken Wills)
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