Weeks later, Glaze emerged publicly as a suspect.
Born in Georgia, he had drifted around the country. Law enforcement in New Mexico arrested him during a traffic stop in mid-1987 and discovered he was wanted for violating parole on an acquaintance rape conviction and was a suspect in the killings.
At Glaze’s trial, several witnesses claimed to have seen him with the women before their murders, some placing him near the crime scenes. Some said Glaze made violent sexual remarks about Indian women. A transient testified that he saw Bullman’s killed.
But experts testified that some of the blood found where Whitebird-Sweet, a mother of three, was killed could not have come from her or Glaze.
A jail inmate testified that in the fall of 1987, Glaze wrote a note saying, “Don’t let anyone here [sic] you, but not to let anyone know. I killed them. I was mad at them.”
The jury deliberated for 35 ½ hours over four days before finding Glaze guilty of killing the women while sexually assaulting them.
Glaze told a judge before sentencing that the witnesses against him were liars: “I’m not the serial killer … I ain’t never … said that about Indian women,” he said, according to a Star Tribune report on the trial. “But do what you have to do.”
Years of work by project
Glaze contacted the Minnesota Innocence Project about a decade ago. It took attorneys almost three years to confirm that evidence still existed.
They learned that in 2003, the Hennepin County attorney’s office had asked the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct a DNA test of a bloody jacket found a half-mile from Whitebird-Sweet’s body.
“There was no reason to conduct that testing (especially at taxpayer’s expense) unless the State had doubts about whether the State had actually convicted the right man,” their filing said.
Brown would not comment Tuesday on specific evidence in the case but said the office has been reviewing evidence, including more than 3,600 of its own files, for DNA evidence. “We have an ongoing duty to see that justice is done,” he said.
In the Glaze case, Brown pointed out, the evidence was collected from three scenes frequented by transients. “The difficulty in analyzing the DNA evidence that they are presenting is that these scenes were chaotic,” he said.
The 2009 DNA testing of sperm collected from a vaginal swab of Green excluded Glaze, but when attorneys persuaded the FBI to agree to run the DNA through a national database of millions of offenders in 2012, it came up as a match to another Minnesota man.
In April of this year, DNA testing of a then-fresh cigarette butt collected a few feet from Whitebird-Sweet’s body also excluded Glaze and revealed a match to the same Minnesota man.
Innocence Project attorneys found the other man had been frequently jailed but was out at the time of each murder. He used to hang out at the same establishments as the victims, the filing Tuesday said.
The attorneys also challenge many of the trial witnesses and evidence, arguing:
• One man recanted his testimony about seeing Glaze with Bullman. He had testified after discussing the case with his probation officer, the document said.