N.O. man exonerated of 1979 murder after 34 years behind bars

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Updated Monday, May 12 at 6:28 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Police and prosecutor misconduct has freed a New Orleans man wrongfully convicted of murder.

That was the word from the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office on Monday.

"I'm just ready to go. Trying to build me a life. After 34 years, I don't even know how to use a cell phone," said Reginald Adams outside the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court with his family.

The New Orleans man is finally free after spending more than three decades behind bars wrongfully convicted of murder.

"I'm glad that I had opportunity to get to this point, because when you're in prison, your life ain't no guarantees," said Adams.

"The perpetrators of the crime ransacked the house and stole several pieces of jewelry from Ulfers and her husband," said Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office would pin the October 1979 murder of Cathy Ulfers, the wife of an NOPD officer on Adams.

A taped confession would lead to his conviction, but Adams would claim detectives pumped him with alcohol and drugs during the four-hour interrogation.

The Innocence Project New Orleans reached out to the district attorney's office last week after discovering a supplemental police report linking two other suspects, a weapon and stolen jewelry to the murder.

On Monday, Cannizzaro dropped the murder case, apologizing to Adams both personally and for the misconduct of police and prosecutors who oversaw the case.

"If he had been in possession of the supplemental report that was concealed from his attorneys, he would have likely been acquitted," said Cannizzaro.

"This is a big Mother's Day present," said Antoinette Scott.

Release from prison was the biggest gift of all for Adams and his family. The former inmate held a shoe box. Inside was a pair of brand-new black converse high tops, the one immediate request he made in starting this next journey.

"What I recommend is that you pick up the pieces. You gotta hold your strength and go from there. Bitterness not gonna solve anything," added Adams.

What about finding those responsible for the 1979 murder?

Cannizzaro said the cases against the two suspects linked to the murder were dropped by the district attorney at the time. Attorneys for Adams say both people have since passed away.

 

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