Lawyers: DNA show man innocent of ’80s Minneapolis murders
Newly discovered DNA evidence may prove that a man known as a Minnesota serial killer might be innocent and that the real killer is someone else. Attorneys for Billy Glaze, 70, filed court documents late Tuesday asking that his conviction be thro...
Newly discovered DNA evidence may prove that a man known as a Minnesota serial killer might be innocent and that the real killer is someone else.
Attorneys for Billy Glaze, 70, filed court documents late Tuesday asking that his conviction be thrown out and that he get a new trial in light of the DNA evidence.
Glaze is serving three life sentences for the murders of three American Indian women in Minneapolis in 1986 and 1987. Kathleen Bullman, Angeline Whitebird Sweet and Angela Green were raped, murdered and mutilated in similar ways, leading police to search for a serial killer.
Glaze, a drifter with a long criminal record, soon emerged as the prime suspect. Authorities said he was known to make derogatory comments about Native American women. At the 1989 trial, several inmates testified they heard Glaze admit to the murders. One man claimed he’d seen Glaze with one of the victims.
Glaze, who always has maintained his innocence, was convicted in 1989, though prosecutors at the time acknowledged there was little physical evidence tying him to the murders - only a footprint never confirmed to belong to Glaze.
“I did not murder nobody. I couldn’t murder nobody. I don’t have it in my heart to,” Glaze told KARE 11 in a 1987 interview from a Dallas jail where he had been picked up on a probation violation.
Glaze had a long criminal record, including convictions for rape, drunken driving, Social Security fraud, disorderly conduct and counterfeiting. His high-profile murder trial was heavily covered by the media.
In prison, Glaze wrote to the Innocence Project, a national group that has made headlines nationwide using new types of DNA analysis to reopen criminal cases. The project says its work has exonerated more than 300 inmates. Its Minnesota chapter recently worked on several high-profile cases, including Michael Hansen, an Alexandria man cleared of charges that he’d murdered his 4-month-old daughter.
The Innocence Project had three labs run DNA tests on dozens of pieces of evidence from the three Minneapolis crime scenes that led to Glaze’s conviction. It took years to get all of the results. But Glaze’s attorneys say those results show there is no trace of DNA belonging to Glaze at any of the crime scenes, proving his innocence.
“In a case like this where not only is it a violent homicide but there’s also a sexual assault involved, you would certainly expect to see some DNA from the perpetrator at the scene and we didn’t find any DNA from Billy Glaze,” said Innocence Project lawyer Olga Akselrod.
Instead, the group said tests showed the DNA profile of another man - a convicted rapist - at two of the three murder scenes.
“You look at the evidence that they were able to present against Billy Glaze at the time of trial. It was the best they could come up with, with the tools they had available at the time,” said Julie Jonas, an attorney with the Innocence Project of Minnesota.
“If they would have had what they have now against this person who really did the crimes, he would have been the one who was arrested. He would have been the one on trial,” she added. “Billy Glaze would never have gone to prison for all those 27 years.”
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