A former prisoner who served 33 years behind bars for the murder of a police officer’s wife—a crime for which he was later exonerated—is suing detectives and prosecutors in the case.
Reginald Adams filed a lawsuit May 11 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against Orleans Parish district attorneys Harry Connick and Leon Cannizzaro Jr., prosecutor Ronald Bodenheimer, detectives Sam Gebbia, Martin Venezia, Frank Ruiz and Jerry Ursin, John Does 1-10, Jane Does 1-10, the city of New Orleans and the defendants’ insurance companies.
Adams, who was 68 when he filed the lawsuit, was charged in September 1980 with the murder of Kathy Ulfers, the wife of a New Orleans Police Department officer. He was convicted in August 1983.
According to the complaint, Adams' conviction was based on a coerced confession he made to police after almost five hours of interrogation, during which they plied him with alcohol and drugs. The lawsuit accuses investigators of manufacturing evidence against Adams in the murder case and concealing evidence that would have helped prove his innocence.
In May 2014, an Orleans Parish criminal district court judge vacated the plaintiff's conviction and sentence, ordering his immediate release, and the DA’s office dismissed charges against him, according to the lawsuit.
Adams seeks compensatory and punitive damages to be determined, along with attorney fees. He is represented by attorney Michael W. Magner of Jones Walker in New Orleans and attorneys from Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana case number 2:15-cv-01543-SM-DEK.