His father died while Nelson Gonzalez was in prison. Alfredo Gonzalez didn’t make it to his daughter’s wedding, and Marilyn Murello missed the childhood of two of his children.
“It was painful. I lost his brother,” Murello added, raising his voice. “he was my strength “
These are three Chicago families affected by murder convictions tainted by allegations of wrongdoing by former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara..
In a historic move Tuesday, a judge overturned seven murder convictions in a single day. Many escapees have spent decades in prison for murders committed between 1989 and 1996.
The Cook County Attorney’s Office has filed motions in seven cases, and an eighth case was heard at the Layton Criminal Court Building. In an unprecedented move, state attorney Kim Fox said at a news conference Tuesday morning that prosecutors “can no longer support these convictions,” leading to mass layoffs.
“Rebuilding community trust in our justice system requires a strong commitment to righting injustices when they are found,” Foxx said. “Today is another step in that process at the Cook County State Attorney’s Office.”
Defendants, family members and supporters spoke to reporters after the court hearing. Emotions ran high as people cheered, cried and hugged. Some even held signs showing the face of Guevara’s accuser.
Murello said she was the first woman to have her conviction overturned due to allegations of wrongdoing by Guevara.
“I had two young children when I was incarcerated, so I had to be a strong person. I had to fight for them. I had to,” Murello said, wiping tears from her eyes.
She served 28 years, five of which were on death row. — And it was released in April 2020.
“Like other Guevara victims out there, there are other innocent women in prison, and I will continue to fight for them,” she added.
Tuesday’s developments show that 31 convictions related to Guevara’s alleged misconduct have been overturned since 2016, with claims ranging from witness manipulation to evidence fabrication.
Alfredo Gonzalez’s family, who were in court for Tuesday’s hearing, were itching to see him.
“We waited a long time. My father took me away when I was three and my brother was seven,” said daughter Maria Gonzalez. “We will drive there and be ready to pick him up.”
Nelson Gonzalez, who served 22 years and was released in 2016, called on Fox to seek prosecution against Guevara.
“This was a conspiracy created by Mr. Guevara and other agents. And it calls on Kim Fox to indict, pursue, and prosecute not only Guevara, but other CPD agents who helped him convict these individuals. And we’re not going to stop, we’re going to keep going, keep pushing, keep pushing.”
Gonzalez said he plans to go back to school to study criminal justice.
“I want to be a lawyer,” he said. “I know what a journey is, so I can speak from both sides. , will continue to help the community. I’m not giving up just because it’s justified.”
Other men exonerated on Tuesday included Carlos Andino, who served 60 years in prison, Johnny Flores, who served 20 years, and Jaime Rios, who served 18 years. , was invalidated last month after serving 26 years in prison.
Guevara’s eighth accuser, Luis Robinson, was not overturned on Tuesday. Robinson is still serving a 60-year sentence after being arrested in 1996.
“Louis Robinson, we will keep fighting for you,” Murello said. “Today wasn’t your day, but your day is coming. It’s coming.”
At a state attorney’s office press conference, Fox said Guevara had repeatedly asserted her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself, saying, “When questioned, it was untrue.” added that it had not yet actively pursued prosecutions against Guevara.
“Our number one priority is to be able to uphold these beliefs, and that is the next step.
Fox pointed out that the statute of limitations for prosecuting former detectives may also be problematic.
She also spoke of the pain of those who lost family members to murder. Guevara’s alleged cheating is hurting them too, she said.
“Losing a loved one is hard enough, and losing a loved one to violence is very hard. And it’s frustrating when you believe someone is being held accountable and you’re told that belief doesn’t hold,” Fox said. It extends not only to those who may have been incarcerated for their crimes, but also to families seeking justice for the loss of loved ones.”
Foxx said three other cases will be considered in the coming weeks. If those convictions, and Robinson’s, are overturned, the number of proven Guevara accusers will be 35.
“We expect to settle additional lawsuits in similar cases in the coming weeks,” Foxx said. increase.”
“what do we want ” asked Mulero before leaving Mike’s setup at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
“justice! “Supporters behind her, her family and a group of exiles responded.
“when do you want “