CHICAGO — Friday was an emotional day for a mother who has been fighting for both of her sons to be released from prison for the last 25 years.
The Hernandez brothers, Juan and Rosendo, are finally free after a judge vacated their sentences on Thursday.
They were framed by notorious former CPD detective Reynaldo Guevara, who has been accused of manipulating witnesses and evidence while patrolling the streets of Humboldt Park in the ’80s and ’90s.
It led judges to vacate more than 20 convictions tied to Guevara.
Back in 1997, the brothers were convicted of murder in the shooting death of Jorge Gonzalez.
“When we turned ourselves into police, we didn’t do anything,” Juan Hernandez said. “That was our first claim of innocence.”
Time and time again, Guevara has pleaded the Fifth during depositions — which shields him from testifying.
WGN Investigates has been tracking the cases and the settlements that follow.
In all, Chicago has paid more than $75 million to defend, investigate and settle misconduct claims involving Guevara. It includes more than $53 million to the men whose convictions have been overturned and another $20 million to private attorneys.
More settlements could follow as other convictions are overturned.
University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman thinks the settlements are just the beginning of the fallout.
“It could easily be $200 to $300 million before the day is done” he said.
Guevara is retired and living in San Antonio while collecting his city-funded pension.
“This is not over with Guevara,” Juan Hernandez said. “We want justice, plain and simple — until that happens, we are not going to stop making noise.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office agreed not to re-try the brothers. In all, over than 50 people accuse Guevara of framing them.