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Eight Murder Cases Dropped in Chicago's Largest Mass Exoneration

Cook County, Il., State's Attorney Kim Fox dropped eight murder cases from the 1980s and ’90s because of misconduct by former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Judge Diana Kenworthy told Nelson Gonzalez, one of the defendants, that he had every right to be bitter, ''But I hope you’re not, so that you can enjoy the rest of your time. On behalf of the court, I’m sorry.” Gonzalez, 53, spendt 22 years in prison for a murder he says he did not commit. “I feel blessed and I’m humbled because I know what it is to lose it all, and now I have an opportunity to enjoy. I call it my rebirth. Now I’m older, I’m wiser,” he said.

Attorneys representing the defendants said it was the single-largest mass exoneration of murder cases in the city’s history. “I’m here to thank Kim Foxx for doing the right thing, and I have a message for Kim Foxx: more. This is just the beginning. There is too much injustice. We need to do more,” said one attorney, Russell Ainsworth, calling Guevara “a stain on the justice system we have to eradicate.” In each case, the defendants had claimed they were framed by the veteran detective, who retired in 2005 and since has been named in multiple wrongful conviction cases that have cost the city of Chicago more than $70 million in legal costs and settlements. Foxx said, “We can no longer stand behind these convictions.” The state’s attorney has dropped 32 cases in which Guevara played a critical role.