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Prosecutors oppose new trial for man conviction in 1980s serial killings in Minneapolis

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MINNEAPOLIS — A man convicted of murdering three American Indian women in Minneapolis in the 1980s should remain behind bars, despite an advocacy group's claims that new DNA evidence casts doubt on the case, Hennepin County prosecutors said in a court filing Friday.

Prosecutors said Billy Glaze, who is serving three life sentences, does not need a new trial, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1wOKlUU) reported. The jury saw "overwhelming evidence" of Glaze's guilt at his 1989 trial, and Glaze's own confessions confirm his guilt, prosecutors said.

Glaze, now 71, has spent more than 25 years behind bars in the murders. The Minnesota Innocence Project, a group dedicated to freeing wrongfully convicted prisoners, argues there was no biological evidence linking Glaze to the crimes.

New DNA tests of 39 items found at the murder scenes, including bodily fluids, clothing and other items, also found no link to Glaze, they said. Instead, the group argues, those tests implicate another man — a convicted Minnesota rapist whom they declined to identify publicly. They argued that Glaze's confessions were false.

In a statement Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the Innocence Project's evidence is "inconclusive and unpersuasive" and doesn't meet legal standards for a new trial.

"This office, and I personally, believe in innocent until proven guilty," Freeman said. "We also believe that if new evidence is found, it should be pursued and analyzed. This office followed those standards in this case and after reviewing what has been presented, we are absolutely convinced, as was the jury, that Billy Glaze is guilty."

A jury found Glaze, a drifter, guilty of first- and second-degree murder in the bludgeoning deaths of Kathy Bullman, 19; Angeline Whitebird-Sweet, 26; and Angela Green, 21. The bodies of the women were found between July 1986 and April 1987 in three locations frequented by transients in Minneapolis. All three were found nude or mostly unclothed with their bodies positioned in ways that suggested a serial killer.

Glaze's conviction was based largely on testimony from witnesses and jail inmates. Prosecutors also presented a note that Glaze had purportedly written in jail saying, "I killed them. I was mad at them."

Innocence Project attorneys say the witness testimony was unreliable and the physical evidence, including the note, didn't prove him guilty.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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