David Milgaard, who spent 23 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, dead at 69

David Milgaard, a man who spent 23 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit, died in a Calgary hospital this weekend, a source close to the family has confirmed.

His cause of death is not known.

Milgaard, 69, leaves behind two children in their teens.

In 1969, the Winnipeg man was 16-years-old and passing through Saskatchewan with friends when Saskatoon nurse Gail Miller’s body was found in a snowbank.

Over the years, lawyers have accused police of having “the worst kind of tunnel vision” during the investigation of the case. 

Convicted at age 17, Milgaard spent 23 years in prison fighting to prove his innocence before he was ultimately exonerated. 

Mother credited for securing freedom

Joyce Milgaard, who died in 2020, never doubted her son’s innocence and spent more than 20 years fighting to get him released.

Milgaard believed without Joyce, he would have been left to rot in prison and has always credited his mother for helping secure his freedom.

Milgaard was released from prison in 1992, but it took several more years before he was exonerated. 

| David Milgaard case: Who killed Gail Miller?

David Milgaard case: Who killed Gail Miller?

CBC’s The Fifth Estate investigates the murder – and the evidence – that put David Milgaard behind bars.

In 1997, the emergence of new DNA evidence linked notorious rapist Larry Fisher to the murder. 

Fisher was convicted of the crime eight years later and sentenced to life in prison. He died in 2015 at the age of 65. 

Milgaard received a multi-million dollar compensation package from the federal government in 1999.

After that, he became an advocate for the wrongfully convicted and prisoners’ rights within the justice system, appearing on panels across the country. 

Milgaard had been living in Cochrane.

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