Judges overturn 7 murder convictions after allegations of misconduct

His father died while Nelson Gonzalez was in prison. Alfredo Gonzalez was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding. And Marilyn Mulero missed out on the childhood of her two children.

It’s been hard – I lost my brother,” Mulero added, his voice cracking.He was my strength. »

These are three of the Chicago families affected by murder convictions tainted by allegations of misconduct by former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara.

In a historic move on Tuesday, judges overturned seven murder convictions in a single day. Many exonerated have spent decades in prison for murders that took place between 1989 and 1996.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office had filed motions in all seven cases and an eighth to be heard at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. In an unprecedented decision, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced at a Tuesday morning news conference that prosecutors “can no longer honor these convictions,” resulting in the mass dismissal.

“Rebuilding community trust in our justice system requires that when we see an injustice, we work diligently to correct it,” Foxx said. “Today marks another step in that process at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.”

Exemptees, family members and supporters spoke to reporters after the court hearings. Emotions ran high as people cheered, cried and hugged. Some held signs showing the faces of Guevara’s accusers.

Mulero spoke as the first woman to have a conviction overturned due to misconduct allegations by Guevara.

“I had to be a strong person because I had two toddlers when I was incarcerated. I had to fight for them. I had to be strong for them,” Mulero said, wiping tears from her eyes.

She served 28 years in prison, including five years on death row and was released in April 2020.

“There are other women who are incarcerated, who are innocent, who I will continue to fight for, just like our other Guevara victims who are in there,” she added.

Tuesday’s development marks 31 convictions overturned since 2016 in connection with Guevara’s alleged misconduct, with allegations ranging from witness manipulation to evidence fabrication.

Alfredo Gonzalez’s family, who were at the courthouse for hearings on Tuesday, were eager to see him. He was serving a life sentence after his arrest in 1990.

“We have been waiting a very long time. My father was taken from us when I was 3, my brother was 7,” his daughter Maria Gonzalez said. “We’re just ready drive over there and pick it up.

Nelson Gonzalez, who served 22 years and was released in 2016, called on Foxx to press charges against Guevara.

It was a conspiracy created by Mr. Guevara and other agents. And I’m asking Kim Foxx to press charges, to prosecute, to prosecute not only Guevara, but the other CPD agents who helped him convict these individuals,” he said. “They have created chaos within many families. And we are not going to stop. We will continue. We’ll keep pushing, we’ll keep pushing.

Gonzalez said he plans to go back to school to study criminal justice.

“I would like to be a lawyer,” he said. “I know what travel is, so I can talk to both sides. So that’s what I’m going to focus on, and the family, and making sure my mom is okay, and continuing to help the community. I’m not going to give up just because I’ve been justified.

The other men exonerated on Tuesday included Carlos Andino, who was serving a 60-year sentence, Johnny Flores, who served 20 years, and Jaime Rios, who served 18 years. David Colon’s conviction was overturned last month after serving 26 years in prison.

The conviction of an eighth Guevara accuser, Louis Robinson, was not overturned on Tuesday. Robinson is still serving a 60-year sentence after his 1996 arrest. He “remains in custody pending further legal proceedings,” Foxx said in a press release.

“Louis Robinson, you know we will continue to fight for you,” Mulero said. “Today was the day that wasn’t your day, but your day is coming. It happens.”

At the state’s attorney’s office press conference, Foxx said that Guevara repeatedly pleaded for the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself “and then, when asked questions, he was not true”. She added that her office had not yet brought charges against Guevara.

Our first priority was to make sure that we could respect these convictions, the next step: we will examine these cases, and also examine the possibility of charges, if any,” she said.

Foxx pointed out that there could also be issues with the statute of limitations to prosecute the former detective.

She also spoke of the pain of those who have lost family members to the homicides. Guevara’s alleged misconduct, she said, also hurts them.

Losing a loved one is hard enough – and losing a loved one to violence. And to believe that someone is being blamed, only to be told the conviction doesn’t hold up, is disheartening,” Foxx said. “The harm (of Guevara) is not just for those who may have been imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, but for the families seeking justice for the loss of their loved ones.”

Afternoon briefing

Afternoon briefing


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Looking ahead, Foxx said three more cases will be reviewed in the coming weeks. If those convictions – and Robinson’s – are thrown out, it would bring Guevara’s number of confirmed accusers to 35.

“We expect to resolve other cases with similar legal action in the coming weeks,” Foxx said. “We also expect more people to come forward and we will review their cases as they come.”

What do we want?” Mulero asked before leaving the mic setup at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Justice!” the group of supporters, families and exonerated behind her responded.

When do we want it?”



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