The Hennepin County attorney’s office is asking a judge to give them until the end of October to respond officially to Minnesota Innocence Project claims that the wrong man was convicted of three serial murders in Minneapolis in the 1980s.
Prosecutors contend that they will need more than the standard 20 days to respond to a request for a new trial for Billy Glaze, convicted in the deaths of three women in 1986 and 1987. The decades-old case involves more than 6,800 pages of investigative reports and court transcripts, and prosecutors will need time to find and consult DNA analysts to review scientific evidence, they argue.
Early this month, attorneys for the Minnesota Innocence Project cast new doubt on Glaze’s conviction. They said new DNA testing of 39 items found at the murder scenes show no link to Glaze but instead implicate another man.
But prosecutors said in their motion for a deadline extension this week that “the evidence of Glaze’s responsibility for these murders is overwhelming,” and that evidence against the Innocence Project’s suspect is “insubstantial.”
They pointed out that Glaze confessed to the three Minneapolis murders in 2004 when he spoke to Los Angeles police. Innocence Project attorneys have said they believe that confession was false.
The two prosecutors working on the case now are part-time and have scheduled trips out of town over the summer and fall, according to their motion.
Innocence Project attorneys are arguing against the extension, saying in court papers that prosecutors had been given the DNA evidence long ago and have had enough time to go over the case. Glaze has been in prison for more than 25 years for the murders.
A defense investigator last week tracked down their new suspect, whom they have declined to name publicly. The man, a convicted rapist, denied knowing any of the murdered women or going to any of the murder scenes, they said.
“These statements are simply false based on the discovery of his DNA at two of the three crime scenes,” Innocence Project attorneys wrote, noting that the man’s DNA was found on a vaginal swab from one murder victim and a cigarette butt from the scene of another victim’s murder.