Prosecutor subpoenas seven media outlets in murder investigation
OHIO–In mid-March prosecutors in Akron subpoenaed tapes of interviews and unpublished notes from two newspapers and five television stations in connection with the investigation of a police officer who has been charged with murdering his ex-wife.
The Akron Beacon Journal and The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer received subpoenas demanding published articles and unpublished notes. Cleveland television stations WEWS, WKYC, WJW, and WOIO and WUAB, which share the same news department, all received subpoenas demanding broadcast material and unedited videotapes.
The subpoenas seek information about Akron police captain Douglas Prade in connection with his recent arrest. Prade has been charged with aggravated murder in the death of his ex-wife, Margo Prade.
Prosecutor Maureen O’Connor told the Associated Press that the subpoenas are aimed at discovering what Prade may have said to reporters after Margo Prade’s death but before he was arrested.
“The news media are privy to statements Doug Prade made in response to some questions put forth,” she told AP, “and we would like to know what statements were made beyond what was in the newspapers and TV clips disseminated to the public.”
Jyrl Ann James, general counsel for the Beacon Journal, told AP that the newspaper filed a motion to quash the subpoena.
Louis Columbo, attorney for The Plain Dealer and WEWS, said the newspaper had no documents of the type demanded by the subpoena. He said he did not know if WEWS possessed any of the information sought by prosecutors or if the station was considering asking the court to quash the subpoena.
Greg Easterly, WJW’s news director, said the station’s policy was to turn all subpoenas over to its legal counsel and that he did not know how the attorney decided to respond to the subpoena.
Aleena Martinet, community relations manager for WKYC, said that she believed the station had not yet responded to what she characterized as a “request for information” from the prosecutor.
Carolyn Forest, attorney for WJW said the station had no videotape of the type demanded by the subpoena. (Ohio v. Prade; Media Counsel: Jyrl Ann James, Akron, for The Akron Beacon Journal; Louis Columbo, Cleveland, for The Plain Dealer and WEWS; Carolyn Forest, Atlanta, for WJW; Susan Faller, Cleveland, for WUAB and WOIO)