Many with wrongful convictions linked to disgraced CPD detective go free
CHICAGO (CBS) – Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx vacated seven murder convictions on Tuesday tied to disgraced former Chicago police Det. Reynaldo Guevara.
Foxx said Guevara engaged in a "pattern and practice" of framing suspects and manipulating evidence.
Five of the eight wrongfully convicted had been released in recent years. Two more were set to be released on Tuesday, with the eighth expected to be released soon.
CBS 2's Chris Tye spoke to the victims whose stories are being believed by the system for the very first time.
On Tuesday, the prison doors opened for one man in the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill and another at Sheridan Correctional Center.
Theirs are two of the lives that were turned upside down after their cases were handled by a disgraced Chicago police officer whose evidence prosecutors no longer believe.
For Alfredo Gonzalez, 32 of his 64 years were spent behind bars. That all ended Tuesday as the prison doors in Sheridan opened and he walked out.
"We have a lot of exonerees out here, show your hands. Show that you're here," said Marilyn Mulero, one of those who had their convictions vacated, at a news conference.
They've been released at different times in recent years, with one still not out.
But what they said is finally out: the truth. After the state's attorney dismissed the murder cases for those tied to Guevara, cases dating back over 30 years.
"I did several years on death row for a crime I didn't commit," said Mulero. "I stayed strong. I maintained my faith in God."
But their faith in the system has been shaken.
And they have specific action they'd like to see for that faith to be reinstated.
"I'm asking Kim Foxx to press charges, to pursue the prosecution of not only of Guevara, but the CPD agents that helped him," said Nelson Gonzalez who was wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years.
Foxx's office is asking judges to vacate eight murder convictions tied to Guevara.
Seven of the judges have. The eighth could happen any day.
Their focus is on a system that turned a blind and cold eye on those wrongfully locked up.
"They created chaos within many families," Gonzalez said. "We aren't going to stop. We're going to keep pushing."
The dismissal of eight murder charges on one day is unprecedented in Cook County.