DNA Evidence Links Marion Gales to Decades-Old Unsolved Murder Case, Exonerating Dr. Ed Friedland

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) —Newly released DNA results in a decades-old murder mystery in Charlotte provide potentially incriminating evidence against a 61-year-old career criminal named Marion Gales. This evidence is connected to the 1990 crime scene where Kim Thomas was killed, adding fuel to one of Charlotte’s most infamous unsolved murders.

Defense attorney David Rudolf argues that the new information, released late Sunday, exonerates Dr. Ed Friedland, his client. Friedland, Thomas’ husband, was charged with his wife’s death four years after she was found handcuffed and slashed to death inside her Charlotte home.

The charge against Friedland was later dropped and never refiled, but Rudolf asserts that Friedland has been “living under this cloud for 34 years.”

Gales, who had done odd jobs for Thomas in the weeks before her death, has long been linked to her murder but never charged. He was later imprisoned for killing another woman. Rudolf claims that the new DNA results confirm that Gales was the one who murdered Thomas, too.

The new DNA test results, released by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, found that DNA from a comb used to collect pubic hair on Thomas’ body was “consistent with Gales’ DNA,” according to an October 2021 test report.

The test also found DNA that was consistent with both Gales’ and Friedland’s on a stain on a mattress cover at the crime scene, as well as on a rug stain near the spot where Thomas’ body was discovered.

Rudolf sharply criticized CMPD for refusing to release the results earlier. Gales is scheduled to be released from prison in March of 2025. Rudolf contends police ignored or concealed evidence that pointed to Gales.

In 1997, a Mecklenburg County jury awarded Friedland $8.6 million in his wrongful-death lawsuit against Gales. Friedland now lives in Florida, where he moved to in 1998.

“What’s next, I hope, is an indictment of Gales,” Rudolf said. “That’s up to the police and the DA’s office. I have expectations and hopes they will take this seriously.”

It remains to be seen how this new evidence will impact the ongoing cold case investigation into the death of Kim Thomas.