Posted Jul 08, 2009 10:25 pm CDT
Marvin Reeves and Ronald Kitchen walked out of a Chicago courthouse free men yesterday after the Illinois Attorney General’s Office dropped the quintuple murder charges against the men, who have spent the last 20 years in prison.
Assistant Attorney General Richard Schwind told Criminal Court Presiding Judge Paul Biebel on Tuesday that it couldn’t “sustain its burden of proof,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Clinching Kitchen’s conviction in the drug-related 1988 murders was his confession, which he says was forced from him after hours of beating by an underling of disgraced Chicago Police Detective Cmdr. Jon Burge.
“If you’re getting whooped for over 39 hours, and you’re constantly saying that you didn’t do it, and they’re constantly doing what they’re doing, somewhere along the line, you’re going to realize they’re not going to stop unless somebody gives in,” Kitchen told the Sun-Times.
Kitchen had been sentenced to life in prison. He was represented by Thomas F. Geraghty and Carolyn E. Frazier of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law and Baker & McKenzie partner Mark Oates.
The conviction of Reeves, who was represented by Mayer Brown partner Michael Gill and associate David Pope, had turned on evidence found by the Bluhm Clinic after his trial.
Gill told the Am Law Litigation Daily that evidence included a deal a key witness made with police. The witness, an inmate, was allowed work leave, while his girlfriend was given money an apartment where the two of them could live.
“Despite that false testimony, Marvin would have had a fighting chance at a trial if the state had disclosed, as it was required, the price it had paid for that testimony,” Gill said.