Minnesota Innocence Projects still trying to clear Billy Glaze after his death

A serial killer is still on the streets, according to the Minnesota Innocent Project. The public safety concern is one argument made by lawyers trying to keep the fight going for Billy Glaze, who spent 28 years in prison before his death on December 22, 2015.

However, Hennepin County prosecutors argue Glaze is the real serial killer, and that his fight for a new trial should end with his death.

On February 10, 1989, Glaze was convicted of murdering and sexually mutilating three Native American women in Minneapolis. In 2004, the Minnesota Innocence Project took up his case, and in 2007, had labs conduct DNA testing on 39 items taken from crime scenes. Glaze’s DNA was not found on any of the items, but the DNA of another man, convicted of raping a Native American woman, was found at two of the crime scenes. Glaze’s lawyers contend the other man, known by the initials J.A.S., is the real killer.

“He is the person who did this crime, and then my client continued to languish in prison until his death,” Julie Jonas, the legal director for the Minnesota Innocence Project, told Fox 9. “We know the man, whose DNA was found at these two scenes, who is a known rapist, is not in custody. He is still out on the streets of Minneapolis.”

Glaze died weeks before a judge was expected to rule on whether the new DNA evidence justified a new trial. Instead, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the case as moot, or meaningless, since Glaze is dead.

On the other hand, the Minnesota Innocence Project argues the case remains relevant for several reasons. First, Glaze’s lawyers say “lessons cannot be learned, and future wrongs cannot be prevented, by sweeping what happened under the rug simply because [Glaze] died awaiting a ruling.” Second, lawyers say Glaze’s dying wish was to clear his name. And finally, the lawyers say there is a public safety concern.

“It’s definitely fair to say there’s a public safety concern. There’s a man who raped and murdered three women who never went to prison for that who is still on the streets of Minneapolis,” Jonas told Fox 9.

Jonas also told Fox 9 that the man she believes is the killer (whose name is not released for investigative purposes) remains violent, and was arrested for domestic violence within the last couple years.

In a statement to Fox 9, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office writes: “The Billy Glaze case is moot and it should end now. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has cooperated with this review since 2007. There is no public safety interest or statewide impact that would warrant even more lengthy and costly litigation. As this office has said consistently for more than a year, the facts of these murders do not fit within the standard Innocence Project narrative and this was never a DNA exoneration case. There was overwhelming evidence proving Glazes' guilt.  Glaze told many, many witnesses that he wanted to rape Indian women with sticks. The murder of Kathleen Bullman was witnessed and Glaze was identified as Bullman's killer. After Angela Green was murdered, Glaze gave his girlfriend a ring that belonged to Green. Finally, Glaze confessed to the murders, before trial and again 15 years after the trial.”