Chicago (CBS) — seven beliefs It was overturned in a day in Cook County Criminal Court on Tuesday — believed to be the largest mass murder charge in U.S. history.
prosecutor decided The case had been irrevocably tainted by the disgraced former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara. Cook County Attorney Kim Fox said the evidence of Guevara’s wrongdoing was so overt that her office upheld seven convictions.
“We no longer believe in the validity of these convictions or the reliability of the evidence for these convictions,” Fox said Tuesday morning.
Guevara’s victims are now experiencing freedom. Some have been released for the first time in decades. CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman spoke with one of them, Alfredo “Freddy” Gonzalez, who served a prison sentence at the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.
Gonzales said, “I am free!” He tearfully hugged his daughter Maria, a moment that took more than 30 years to create.
He found himself dealing with generations of family values. His grandson grew up watching him while he was incarcerated.
Gonzalez spent 32 of his 64 years in prison. That means he was sentenced to life in prison for 30 years for a murder he didn’t commit.
“I was heartbroken because I wasn’t paying attention,” Gonzalez said. “You can come here and do this to your youngest son.”
He lovingly tugged at his adult son’s beard.
Gonzalez was one of seven people released due to police detectives handling his case. 1 in 8 can happen at any time.
Also on Tuesday, Nelson Gonzalez was acquitted after serving 21 years in prison for an innocent murder. He didn’t skimp on who he thought was to blame.
“This is a conspiracy created by Mr. Guevara and other agents who are asking Kim Fox to be prosecuted,” Nelson Gonzalez said.
Marilyn Murello served 27 years in prison for the 1992 shooting that killed two men.
“I spent several years on Death Row for a crime I never committed,” she said. ”
Five of the eight wrongfully convicted were released in recent years. Two more were released on Tuesday, and an eighth release is coming soon.
Guevara-related wrongful conviction settlements have already cost taxpayers at least $37 million. And Guevara never spoke about the incident in court.
Fox said the allegations against the former detective ranged from witness manipulation to evidence fabrication.
“We ended up in this place because there are corrupt police officers who choose to engage in this type of behavior — corrupt detectives,” said Fox. To families seeking justice for the loss of loved ones instead of committing. “
And now, with more victims still in jail, some are calling for Guevara to go to the same prison as them.
CBS 2 Investigators has covered several of the Guevara cases.
Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano are two people who spent decades in prison for the innocent murders of 1993.
“He destroyed his family. It’s not right,” Serrano said of Guevara in 2016.
last month,After their case was overturned. They said Guevara put them together, and prosecutors said they weren’t going to try them again.
A few days later, Elvie Abrego was also released from prison.
There are 24 acquittals related to Guevara, and three more convictions are possible.
A state attorney pointed out there may be a problem with the statute of limitations for prosecuting Guevara. I moved to Antonio.