Condemning the work of New Orleans detectives and prosecutors as "shameful," Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro announced on Monday that Reginald Adams would walk free after 34 years behind bars. Adams, 61, went to jail for the murder of a New Orleans police officer's wife, based in part on false testimony from NOPD officers.
“I will not tolerate intentional misconduct on the part of police or prosecutors,” Cannizzaro said in a statement apologizing to Adams and his family, adding, that the "intentional acts" of the detectives and prosecutors who put him behind bars harmed Adams and "denied this community any opportunity to hold the real perpetrator criminally responsible for this violent crime.”
Here's a video of Adams shortly after his release, via the New Orleans Advocate. When asked how he felt following his release, Adams said, "like a champion." He added that he'd like to take a "nice long walk" now that he's free.
Adams was tried and convicted twice for the crime. (The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed his initial conviction in 1990. He was tried and found guilty again.) Both times, Cannizzaro said, prosecutors relied on his confession, given while in New Orleans Police custody. But there's a problem: his confession didn't match up with the details of the crime scene. Additionally, the two detectives assigned to his case never shared supplemental evidence with Adams's defense team. That evidence included the discovery of the murder weapon, which led investigators to two other individuals, one of whom was in possession of a piece of jewelry stolen from the victim's home. Prosecutors Assistant District Attorneys Ronald Bodenheimer and Harold Gilbert claimed in trial that the murder weapon had not been found, as the Times-Picayune reported, and that there were no other suspects.
The Advocate adds the following about the husband of the victim, Cathy Ulfers:
Ronald Ulfers, who retired from the New Orleans Police Department in 1989, had been a suspect in Cathy Ulfers’ slaying but was never charged, according to news accounts. He was later convicted of murder in the death of his second wife and sentenced to life in prison.
Innocence Project New Orleans Director, Emily Maw had asked the DA to review Adams's case earlier this month. Adams has previously said that NOPD officers gave him drugs and alcohol during the four-hour interrogation session that produced his confession.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.