Archive for Saturday, April 21, 2001

Convict freed who beat three execution dates

April 21, 2001


— In 1982, Donald Paradis was scheduled to be hanged. In 1986, he was set to be executed by firing squad. In 1995 he received a date to be put to death by lethal injection.

On April 10, he walked out of the Kootenai County Courthouse a free man.

After 21 years in prison 14 on death row Paradis was freed when a federal appeals court ruled he was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct.

Paradis, 52, was no angel. The former member of the Gypsy Jokers motorcycle gang admitted he helped hide the body of a 19-year-old woman strangled by his friends. But he insisted he did not murder anyone.

Outside the courthouse earlier this month, a red-eyed, weak-kneed Paradis said he planned to return to Boise to live with the woman he married while in prison and her two kids.

"I knew I would get out of prison," he said. "I didn't think it would take this long."

At his 1981 trial, Paradis was saddled with an inexperienced lawyer and buried by testimony from a medical examiner that later turned out to be unsupported by forensic evidence.

His road to freedom required numerous appeals, the confession of an associate, and the efforts of a corporate law firm from New York that worked without pay for 15 years.

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