On Tuesday, a special prosecutor dropped murder charges against two men who claimed they were beaten by Chicago detectives leading up to their conviction in the 1989 murder of a retired police officer’s wife.
According to a Fox32 report, Corey Batchelor and Kevin Bailey were teens as well as close friends when they were taken to a police station to be questioned about Lula Mae Wood’s death.
The news outlet reports that both men were beaten by detectives trained by Police Cmdr. Jon Burge before confessing to the killing. As Cook County Circuit Judge Alfredo Maldonado announced their convictions were vacated and special prosecutors had dropped the case against them, both Batchelor and Baily hugged.
According to Fox32, Batchelor was paroled in 2004 but worked with lawyers from University of Chicago Law School’s Exoneration Project to see Bailey freed too. Bailey was released Tuesday afternoon from the Stateville Correctional Center, after serving nearly 30 years of an 80-year sentence.
“I told him ‘aren’t you glad I didn’t give up?’” Batchelor said after the hearing, the news outlet reports.
Both Bailey and Batchelor were just 19 years old with no criminal histories when they were arrested in Woods’ stabbing death, Fox32 reports. On Tuesday, prosecutors said the evidence against the men does not meet the burden of beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The confessions that resulted (from the abuse) were inconsistent with each other, they’re inconsistent with the facts, and now when everybody can take a look at it with the knowledge of what has happened, we realize that these two men did not commit the crime, and we’re very happy that the state has acknowledged that,” said one of Bailey’s attorneys, Bryce Benjet.
Robert Milan, a special prosecutor, began a review of the case in June, according to the news outlet. Milan said the review of thousands of pages of court records, police records as well as of dozens of interviews did not provide evidence that could point the two men guilty of the crime.
Milan noted Bailey and Batchelor have agreed not to seek a certificate of innocence, which would potentially entitle both men to a payout from the state, according to the news outlet. The men also are not able to apply for funds as Burge torture victims as Burge was no longer working at the police station at the time of their interrogation.
Fox32 reports Burge was fired in 1993 for torturing the suspect in the killing of two cops, later convicted in federal court in 2010 of perjury and obstruction of justice after jurors discovered he lied when he denied witnessing torture or abusing suspects in relation to a civil lawsuit. Burge spent 4½ years in prison as well as on home confinement.