After 37 years in Angola, Eric Prudholm is going home a free man. Prudholm was wrongfully convicted of aggravated rape and robbery.
He is expected to be released on Friday. DNA evidence proved his innocence.
According to KSLA News 12, court records show that the rape and robbery occurred June 8, 1981. Two suspects forced a woman onto a bed at the Drummer’s Inn in Bossier City, forcing her husband onto a second bed. A third suspect kept watch at the door.
Officers arrived on scene after the suspects departed and obtained evidence, including DNA. The victim later identified Prudholm and two other men after the attack through a photo line up.
Research has shown that eyewitness identification can often be unreliable, particularly if certain procedures are not followed during the lineup.
Prudholm was freed with the help of the Innocence Project New Orleans. Jee Park, IPNO’s executive director said in a statement:
“Mr. Prudholm (will be) released (Friday) after 37 years and three months in prison for crimes he did not commit. We are thrilled that his wrongful incarceration is finally over and that he is reunited with his loving family. Mr. Prudholm is the 33rd innocent client IPNO has freed or exonerated. On average, our cases take 10 years of hard-fought litigation to free the innocent. We are confident that if we had litigated this case to its end, Mr. Prudholm would have been fully exonerated because he is innocent. Our legal system, however, is too slow to undo its mistakes, and as a man who has suffered greatly in prison, time with his family is more precious and urgent.”
Mr. Prudholm reached an agreement which states he cannot seek compensation for his wrongful incarceration.