‘Marquette Park 4’ exonerated of 1995 double murder by new evidence

CHICAGO -- It has been a long road to get here, but 3 of the 4 men known as the "Marquette Park Four" said they feel like they are finally free.

At the Leighton Criminal Court Building Wednesday, cheers broke out after charges were dropped against the men dubbed the "Marquette Park 4." They signed false confessions after a 1995 double murder and armed robbery at a used car dealership.

Charles Johnson and Larod Styles were given life sentences as teenagers, and spent more than 20 years in prison before they were granted new trials last year and were released on bond. Lashawn Ezell had already served his sentence. The fourth man, Troshawn McCoy, is awaiting release from prison.

The slow wheels of justice turned on fingerprint evidence, including prints later found on a sticker ripped off a car that was stolen from the lot after the murders.

After conducting an extensive review of the evidence, the office of new State's Attorney Kim Foxx said they wouldn't be able to sustain the burden of proof if the cases were retried.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Johnson, Styles and Ezell expressed their gratitude to their loved ones who never gave up, and the army of attorneys who worked tirelessly for their freedom.

The Cook County State Attorney says her office is currently doing a top-to-bottom review, and and looking at every case that has been referred to the convictions integrity unit