Legal Ethics

Inmate's Freedom Hinges on Lawyers' Revelation That Dead Client Killed Guard in '82

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Almost 26 years ago, as two Chicago public defenders were representing a client accused of murdering two police officers, their case suddenly got a lot tougher.

A lawyer defending another man accused of murdering a security guard in an unrelated case told the two PDs that his client said that their client, Andrew Wilson, was guilty of the security guard’s murder, too. And, when Dave Coventry and Jamie Kunz confronted Wilson, he admitted the accusation was true, reports the Chicago Tribune.

“He kind of chuckled over the fact that someone else was charged with something he did,” recalls Coventry, now 64. However, he said that his two lawyers could reveal the truth after his death.

Because the two PDs were representing Wilson, attorney-client privilege applied and they couldn’t ethically tell anyone else about his admitted role in the January 1982 killing on Chicago’s far south side. However, they wrote down the details in a notarized affidavit and locked it in a metal box. Last week, after Wilson’s death of natural causes in November, as he was serving a life sentence for the police officers’ murders, Coventry and Kunz testified in court about their client’s confession to them.

That sets the stage for the potential release of Alton Logan, 54, who was convicted of the security guard’s murder based on witness testimony.

Both lawyers say it has been difficult knowing for decades that an innocent man was in prison, while they had no choice but to keep their client’s secret.

Now that the truth has come out, “it was a relief,” says Kunz, 70. “Oh my God, I have been wanting this. I have considered this to be the truth. I have been wanting this to come out for years. I don’t know anything about Alton Logan. It hurts to know somebody is in prison all these years and is innocent.”

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