CHICAGO — A man who said he was tortured by Chicago police into giving a false confession, could get his first taste of freedom in nearly three decades.
James Gibson was back in court Wednesday almost 30 years after he was convicted of a double murder only to learn he would have to wait another day to hear if he would be granted bail for a crime he said he didn’t commit.
It was an emotional day for not only for Gibson’s family, but for the son of the man Gibson was accused of killing.
Gibson was convicted for the 1989 murders of Hunter Wash and Lloyd Benjamin, who affectionately known as the “Insurance Man” in the Englewood neighborhood where he worked and where he was shot twice in the head.
Benjamin’s son, Bill Benjamin was in court Wednesday listening as Gibson’s attorneys argued for him to be released on bond.
“Everyone wants to pardon murderers nowadays. I don’t get it,” Benjamin said. “Think about the victims and think about their families.”
Benjamin was in his early 30s when his father was killed.
“Nobody should have to go identify their father in the morgue with one gunshot here and another gunshot here,” he said as he pointed to his head.
He thought the case was over when Gibson was convicted. but when the courts determined Gibson was tortured by infamous Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his “midnight crew,” a new trial was ordered.
Benjamin doesn’t agree and believes the state got the right guy when it convicted Gibson.
“If James’ confession was coerced, what about the other four?” he said. “Somebody obviously did this, I saw with my own eyes, the results, somebody did it.”
In a scene you don’t see often, Benjamin hugged Gibson’s family after court and chatted with them briefly. He said he’s a compassionate guy and that they’ve been reaching out to him. He just does not agree with them.
“I heard the evidence at that time and I thought they made the right decision,” he said. “I still stand by that.”
Gibson’s family, on the other hand, is convinced the evidence used to convicted him was based on lies and they are hoping the truth comes out.
“Not only that the truth is out, that people can start their journey to actually heal because this is what it’s about because you can get closure and you can heal,” Sarmarra Burks, Gibson’s niece, said.
Judge Alfredo Maldonado said in putting off making his decision until Thursday, that he didn’t want to make such an important decision on the fly.
Both sides will be back in court Thursday morning to hear what he decides.