Death Row's Longest Serving Inmate Goes Free

All-white jury convicted Glenn Ford of murder in 1984

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 12, 2014 10:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – In 1984, Glenn Ford, who is black, was wrongfully convicted by an all-white jury in the murder of an elderly white man in Louisiana. He spent the next three decades on death row—but yesterday afternoon, he was finally set free, the Atlantic reports. During the case, Ford had cooperated with police, offering the names of a pair of brothers, the Robinsons, who may have been involved. But Marvella Brown, the girlfriend of one of those brothers, said Ford was with the Robinsons the day Isadore Rozeman was killed—and that Ford had had a gun. All three were charged with murder before a trial that was full of holes.

Prosecutors acted to keep blacks off the jury; Ford's lawyers weren't qualified for his case; a coroner testified without having examined the body; and Brown told the court she'd "lied" about her story. Ford was convicted anyway. Last year, after years of failed appeal efforts, prosecutors say they learned through a "confidential informant" that Ford "was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder" of Rozeman. Ford said, upon leaving jail: "It feels good." But "I can’t go back and do anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40." He's 64 now, and is the 144th person to be exonerated from death row in 40 years, the Guardian reports. His plan? "Go get something to eat," he tells WAFB. Meanwhile, another exonerated man once on death row has filed a complaint against his prosecutor.

Glenn Ford, 64, center, walks out of a maximum security prison, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, in Angola, La.   (AP Photo/WAFB-TV 9)
Glenn Ford, 64, talks to the media as he leaves a maximum security prison.   (AP Photo/WAFB-TV 9)
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