CHICAGO — Daniel Rodriguez spent 13 years in prison for a murder he says he didn’t commit.
In court filings, he claims he was framed by a notorious Chicago police officer.
And he isn’t alone.
Dozens of men have accused Reynaldo Guevara of “fixing” their murder cases, in part, by forcing confessions, intimidating witnesses and manipulating lineups.
At least 15 men have been exonerated. While others like Rodriguez fight to clear their name.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said she would review murder cases where misconduct by Guevara was alleged.
But nearly two years have passed and not a single new case has been dismissed.
“The hope is we’d see some mass dismissals,” says Josh Tepfer, Rodriguez’s attorney. “The evidence of the pattern of Guevara’s misconduct is so stark. It’s obvious.”
Rodriguez has spent the last decade rebuilding his life and reconnecting with family.
He is now a grandfather and works full-time as a driver for a Southwest Side trucking company. But he’s still searching for closure.
He asked a Cook County Judge to reopen his case, in hopes his conviction will be overturned. His request is still pending.
“The time is done,” Rodriguez says. “I’ll never get that back. But they can right their wrong.”
Rodriguez was convicted in 1993. Accused of acting as a getaway in a suspected gang killing in Humboldt Park.
For months, the shooting went unsolved. Then, Guevara took over the investigation.
“The closer as he’s called,” Rodriguez says. “He came in and closed the case.”
At the time, Guevara was a detective at the Chicago Police’s Area 5 Headquarters. He was known for solving cases that no one else could.
Rodriguez confessed to police but claims he did so after he was beaten. A key witness in the case has since recanted, alleging he was forced by Guevara to identify Rodriguez.
Guevara retired in 2005 and is now collecting two city pensions. He declined to be interviewed.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Foxx says they’re “committed to the work of justice and our review of these cases remains a top priority of this office. Our Conviction Integrity Unit is currently conducting a proactive and ongoing investigation related to these cases as we continue to address claims of wrongful conviction.”
She declined further comment.
Part Two of this story will air Tuesday night on WGN News at 9.