CHICAGO —Demetrius Johnson was convicted of murder in 1992. He was 15 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
He served 22 of those years before he was released in 2004. Now, Johnson says retired Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara framed him.
“Being 15 and being grabbed for something you knew nothing about, I thought it was a joke or something,” said Johnson.
His lawyers said on the day of the crime, witnesses identified a different man in a police lineup, and Guevara buried this report in a secret so-called street file.
“It’s not just hiding the ball. (Guevara) didn’t omit something. He falsified information and claimed something that wasn’t true,” said attorney Joshua Tepfer. “There was an identification of an alternate suspect. He wrote a report saying there wasn’t, and he testified in court that there wasn’t.”
Johnson also accuses Guevara of giving false testimony about the lineup results at trial.
Members of the exoneration project at the University of Chicago law school are representing Johnson.
If successful, he would be the 20th convict, from a case involving Guevara, to have the conviction overturned.
Johnson is now 44-years old.
He said his criminal record has affected his ability to find work or continue his education.
“I was raised in the prisons system for no reason. I had my whole life ahead of me. I was going to school. I was trying to educate myself, and out of nowhere, was snatched up,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s next court date is Oct. 8.