CHICAGO — A man who spent 22 years in prison is now free after prosecutors say they are dropping the decades-old murder charges against him.
It is one of many cases that have unraveled because of a single Chicago police officer.
This is the eighth conviction that has been thrown out because of Chicago police officer Reynaldo Guevara. He is now retired, but his investigations are crumbling and costing taxpayers millions.
In 1995, Thomas Sierra was accused of killing a teenager in Logan Square. He’s spent the last two decades in prison insisting he’s innocent, and the Cook County State’s Attorney vacated his convictionTuesday morning.
That conviction was based on the testimony of two eyewitnesses who picked him out of a lineup. Those eyewitnesses now say the whole thing was made up–the cop told them what to say.
That cop was Reynaldo Guevara. A Cook County judge recently called him a liar who has no credibility.
Lawyers for the Exoneration Project say Guevara has framed dozens of innocent men — and there are a lot of others just like Sierra who are still paying the price for Guevara’s misconduct.
“What he decided to do is stop paying attention to whether people were innocent or guilty and just started grabbing guys and making cases,” said attorney Jon Loevy. “He was coercing confessions. He was manipulating witnesses.”
Sierra called the news “unreal.” He could receive up to $219,000 for being wrongfully convicted.
“I did all this time for something I didn’t do,” he said.
Lawyers for the Exoneration Project say they are hopeful this is a new era.