Innocence Project: Man 'wrongly convicted' of 3 Minneapolis murders dies

A man believed to be wrongly convicted in 1989 for three Minneapolis murders died in prison Tuesday morning, the Innocence Project of Minnesota (IPMN) said.  Billy Glaze, 72, died at the Delaware prison where he was incarcerated for 28 years.

According to the IPMN, Glaze was awaiting a decision on his request to overturn his convictions for the murders of three Native American women in Minneapolis based upon recent DNA evidence that “strongly supported his innocence.”

In 2014, the non-profit legal clinic “uncovered evidence showing that the DNA of another man, who was subsequently convicted of abducting and raping another Native American woman in Minneapolis during that same time period, was found at the scene of two of the three murders,” the IPMN stated in a press release. “Glaze's DNA was not found at any of the murder scenes.”

Lawyers from the Innocence organizations in Minnesota and New York and Dorsey & Whitney filed papers in June of 2014 seeking to vacate Glaze's conviction and a new trial, based in part on the DNA evidence. The final briefing in support of this motion was filed in October 2015.

His lawyers learned late last week that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and other medical conditions. Glaze died while his petition to vacate his conviction remained pending.

"Billy spent almost 30 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit,” Ed Magarian, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney and one of Glaze's lawyers, said. “That tragedy has been compounded by his death. We're heartbroken, particularly as we were confident that Billy would have been exonerated in 2016, and released from prison as a free man.”

Magarian said they’re researching Minnesota law “to explore what legal options, if any, exist following his death to continue our work to at least offer him the dignity of having his name cleared” for Glaze and his family.