Eric Prudholm, who has been in jail since 1981, has been cleared of rape charges in Bossier City. Prudholm was convicted of raping a woman in front of her family at a hotel in Bossier and was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years.

At the time of the conviction, the only evidence presented by the state against Prudholm was testimony from the victim. However, according to the victim's account, she was asleep when the attack occurred and the room was poorly lit. She also described her attacker as as a dark-skinned black man which does not describe Prudholm. Prudholm also presented 7 alibi witnesses. However, despite the lack of evidence and inaccurate description of the attacker, Prudholm was convicted of the crime.

Since his arrest and conviction, DNA testing has significantly advanced. A test of evidence found at the scene has cleared Prudholm of involvement in the attack.

Given the new DNA evidence plus the weaknesses of the evidence used to convict Prudholm, the Bossier Parish District Attorney’s office and Prudholm agreeded to Alford plea, allowing him to maintain his innocence in exchange for immediate release.

Prudholm says he looks forward to being able to spend time with his daughter, who was born after he was arrested, outside of a prison. He's expected to be released from Angola later today.

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