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Will Glenn Ford's release affect death penalty views? - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Will Glenn Ford's release affect death penalty views?

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Nearly thirty years in Angola will change a man, but is Glenn Ford's March 11 release from prison enough to change Louisiana's views on the system that put him there?

Related article: After 30 years on death row, Ford released

During jury selection for the Brian Horn murder case, an East Baton Rouge resident on the first panel to be questioned said he had always considered himself open to the death penalty and believed some people deserve it.

March 12- the day after Ford's release- the jury candidate had a different opinion.

"I think of stories that came out recently where someone was given the death penalty and released after other evidence came out," the juror said as he explained to prosecutors why he would not give a suspect the death penalty, even if Horn is accused of killing a 12-year-old boy.

Related article: Jury: Can I send Brian Horn to his death?

Ford walked free for the first time just hours before the candidate took his place in juror box.

New evidence in the 1983 murder case of Shreveport jeweler Isadore Rozeman led prosecutors to believe what Ford has said for decades: He did not kill Rozeman and he was not present when it happened.

"This is a rare occurrence for something like this," Caddo Parish District Attorney Charles Scott said. "In most of the cases- and practically all the cases in Caddo- there is direct evidence that the person who is convicted of first degree murder is, in fact, the killer."

In court documents, Assistant District Attorney Dale Cox writes: "Indeed, if the information had been within the knowledge of the State, Glenn Ford might not even have been arrested or indicted for this offense."

The Times newspaper previously reported a confidential informant has come forward to put another person behind the gun.

"We've been working on this for decades, literally, so we hope that it'll be the first day for Glenn to start a new life," Ford's attorney Gary Clements said as the men walked away from the prison that's been Ford's home since his conviction.

"My son was a baby when I left," Ford said. "Now, he's grown with babies."

Ford is eligible for restitution. The state pays $25,000 dollars for each year in prison but caps the amount at $250,000. He can get $80,000 for job training. Nothing will buy back 28 years, but it seems Ford's release may empower death penalty opponents to prevent future cases like his.

Citing Ford's case, Amnesty International USA officials write "We are more determined than ever to put an end to the death penalty, once and for all."

According to Death Penalty Information Center, Glenn Ford is the 144th person in the US since 1973 to be exonerated and freed after having been sentenced to death. He is the 10th from the state of Louisiana and spent more time on death row than any of the other exonerees.

"There's a lot of problems with the death penalty," said Richard Goorley, director of Shreveport-based Capital Assistance Project of Louisiana. "It's not just innocent people being convicted. The other is who gets the death penalty and who doesn't. It all depends on the jurisdiction of where they're being tried."

A January 2014 report shows there are more than 39,000 people listed as Department of Corrections offenders, with 83 men and two women on death row.

Caddo Parish sends more people to their death than any other jurisdiction in the state.

Approximately one in every five death row inmates was tried in Caddo, but Goorley says those trends are changing as prosecutors in some places try less for capitol punishment and more for life imprisonment.

"Jefferson [Parish]- I don't think- any longer seeks the death penalty," Goorley said. "Baton Rouge has reduced, and so has Orleans. The only place you see nowadays a lot of prosecutors pursing the death penalty is Caddo and probably Saint Tammany."

CAPOLA attorneys are currently working on seven first degree murder cases, including the current Brian Horn trial.

Goorley says Ford's release should impact people's perception on capital punishment.

Charles Scott is still pursing the death penalty in several of CAPOLA's Caddo cases and does not believe Ford's release will affect the potential jury pool for those cases.

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