David Milgaard, the victim of one of Canada’s most notorious miscarriages of justice, has died after a short illness. He was 69.
James Lockyer, a Toronto-based lawyer who worked closely on the case and helped found Innocence Canada’s organization, confirmed the death after speaking with Milgaard’s sister.
His loss is “devastating for the family,” Lockyer told The Canadian Press.
Milgaard was only 16 when he was charged with the murder of Saskatoon nursing aide Gail Miller, who was raped, stabbed and left to die in the snow in the early morning of Jan. 31, 1969.
Milgaard would spend 23 years in prison on a wrongful conviction until his release in 1992.
In his later years, he helped raise awareness about wrongful convictions and demanded action on how Canadian courts review convictions.
“I think it’s important for everybody, not just lawyers, but for the public to be aware that wrongful convictions are taking place and that these people are sitting behind bars and trying to get out,” Milgaard said in 2015.
“The policies that are keeping them there need to be changed. The wrongful conviction review process is failing all of us miserably.”