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Milgaard leaves prison in legal limbo

He was a carefree teenaged hippie just passing through Saskatoon on Jan. 31, 1969 — the same day nursing assistant Gail Miller was raped and stabbed to death in a back alley. On the strength of sketchy forensics and unreliable witnesses, David Milgaard was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. Twenty years later, his case made national headlines as his mother Joyce confronted politicians in a bid to free her son from jail. By the time he was cleared in 1997, David Milgaard had become one of the most famous examples of wrongful conviction in Canada.

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After 8,355 days in prison, David Milgaard is leaving a life sentence behind. But questions about his innocence still linger as Saskatchewan announces there will be no new trial. The province's attorney general says too much time has passed for a new trial and rules out an inquiry or compensation for Milgaard. Meanwhile, a CBC Television reporter in Saskatoon finds Gail Miller's friends hoping they can finally put her memory to rest.
. The day David Milgaard left prison, he and his family went to a Winnipeg Chinese restaurant to celebrate. Well-wishers sent over champagne, and Milgaard feasted on filet mignon, egg rolls and chow mein.
. Milgaard had a hard time adjusting to life outside prison. He would feel particularly anxious around 11 p.m. each night - lights-out for inmates. He would also get upset if anyone, even his mother, touched his belongings - in prison, touching what isn't yours is taboo.

. After he was released, David Milgaard travelled around Canada, occasionally speaking about his experiences for honoraria. He also struggled with alcoholism and had several run-ins with the law, including arrests in Vancouver and Kingston. Often, these episodes happened because Milgaard stopped taking lithium - a treatment for bipolar disorder - and became disoriented.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: April 16, 1992
Guest(s): Ann Derrick, Ed Greenspan, Joyce Milgaard, Lorne Milgaard, Clayton Ruby
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Joan Beatty, Saša Petricic
Duration: 6:48

Last updated: February 15, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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