In September 1986, 34-year-old Douglas Dilosa was found bound with rope in his Kenner, Louisiana home, and his wife was found strangled upstairs. Dilosa, who is white, told police that he was awakened by a noise, and when he went downstairs to investigate, he was beaten and bound by two black men. Police suspected that Dilosa, who was in financial trouble, had murdered his wife for the insurance money. Dilosa was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury in July 1987 and sentenced to life in prison.
After his conviction, Dilosa requested his records and received a police report that had been withheld from his attorneys at trial. The report provided information that police were investigating a similar break-in at a nearby condominium, that a hair found in the rope used to strangle his wife was from an African-American, that unidentified fingerprints were found at the crime scene, and that a witness saw two black males leaving Dilosa’s condominium complex early on the morning of the murder. Dilosa’s attorney filed a habeas corpus petition. The court granted the petition in 2001, overturning his conviction. Dilosa was released on bond in 2001, and prosecutors decided not to retry him. Charges against him were dismissed in January 2003.
He was awarded $329,000 in compensation by the state of Louisiana.
- Stephanie Denzel