Prosecutor Apologizes to Glenn Ford, Exonerated After Decades on Death Row

Attorney Marty Stroud leaves the Federal Courthouse in Shreveport, La., in 2007.
Attorney Marty Stroud leaves the Federal Courthouse in Shreveport, La., in 2007.Douglas Collier / The Shreveport Times via AP

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Saying that he was “not as interested in justice as in winning,” a Louisiana prosecutor has apologized at length to a man who was exonerated after almost 30 years on death row.

The prosecutor, A.M. "Marty" Stroud III, concluded in a letter to the editor in The Shreveport Times that the death penalty is “anathema to any society that purports to call itself civilized.”

"I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family," he wrote.

Ford, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury of the 1983 robbery and murder of a watchmaker in Shreveport. He walked free last year after the state said it had unearthed new evidence showing he wasn't at the crime scene.

In the letter to the editor, the prosecutor faulted himself for arrogance, for presenting dubious testimony from a forensic pathologist, for failing to investigate other leads, and for mocking Ford for trying to prove his innocence.

"I end with the hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford," Stroud wrote. "But, I am also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it."

He also wrote that Ford deserves “every penny owed to him” under a compensation law for exonerated inmates. The newspaper’s editorial page has sharply criticized the state for trying to deny Ford $330,000 because he cannot prove he is “factually innocent.”

The newspaper says that Ford, now 65, has Stage 4 lung cancer and less than a year to live.


— Erin McClam