Locked up but not paying up
NEW ORLEANS - A wrongfully convicted man is fighting for compensation he is owed from the state.
Glenn Ford was exonerated of a crime he did not commit and released from Angola on March 11, 2014, just before sunset. He'd spent nearly 30 years on death row before a judge overturned his murder conviction.
The Attorney General's Office explained there was "credible evidence" which "support[ed] a finding that Glenn Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman," a jeweler in Shreveport.
"I was locked up almost 30 years for something I didn't do," Ford said as he was leaving Angola in 2014.
Ford, who maintained his innocence during his entire prison sentence, was given his freedom back along with a $20 debit card to restart a life. But, nearly a year later, his life is still in limbo.
Now, battling stage four cancer, he is trying to get the state to pay him the $330,000 he is owed under the compensation statute. The statute allows for a person to receive $25,000 for each year they spent wrongfully incarcerated but is capped at $250,000. But, there is an added $80,000 for loss of life.
Ford filed a petition for compensation in December and it is being opposed by the State Attorney General's Office, who believes Ford pawned items stolen from the murder victim.
Rozeman was found dead in his jewelry store in November 1983. Police determined items at the shop had been stolen and the state said Ford pawned them within hours of the murder, even though it's been found he did not commit the murder. Ford said he didn't know where the items came from and was merely pawning the items for rent money.
"It's been a whirlwind of events, most of them either twisted or bad," he said in an exclusive interview with WBRZ News 2 that aired during the station's 10 o'clock news Wednesday.
The state argues Ford may have committed crimes of having stolen items and accessory to armed robbery and he cannot prove his innocence of aiding the killer.
"I don't think I'll ever get it," Ford said. "I think they will try to wait until the worst will happen to me; I die and pass away in the bed."
The state is now seeking to prosecute two men originally suspected of the murder. For reasons never revealed, the state dropped the charges against those people, after Ford was originally convicted.
The cancer, which developed after he left prison, is progressing and doctors believe Ford has four to eight months to live.
"[I'm] trying to prolong my stay for as long as possible," he said.
On February 5, a hearing was held over Ford's petition. The trial court took the matter under advisement and Ford's lawyers say they are waiting for a judgment.
He's hoping to take a trip to visit his four sons and their families in California and rebuild their relationship outside prison walls.
"I have yet to have enough time to actually talk to them, to see what type of young men they are," he said. "Each of them are married and have family and appear to be doing alright."