Judge rules man won’t get new trial in torture-tainted case
CHICAGO (AP) — A Cook County judge on Friday reinstated the murder conviction of a Chicago man that was overturned on claims he was tortured into a false murder confession by a notorious police commander.
Gerald Reed was convicted in 1990 and given a life sentence for the fatal shootings of Pamela Powers and Willie Williams. Judge Thomas Hennelly’s ruling came as Reed, 56, and prosecutors prepared for retrial of the case.
Reed’s conviction was overturned in 2018 after his repeated assertions he had been abused by detectives under Jon Burge’s command. However, Hennelly ruled Reed’s statement resulting from the alleged abuse was never used against him during trial, so his rights were never violated.
Hennelly took over Reed’s case from Judge Thomas Gainer, who retired days after ordering a new trial for Reed.
Reed’s supporters, including relatives and activists who filled benches in the courtroom, chanted "Free Gerald Reed” as they walked through the courthouse lobby.
"I never would have thought that this judge would do what he did today,” said Reed’s mother, Armanda Shackleford.
Special Prosecutor Robert Milan has claimed even without Reed’s confessions, there was ample evidence Reed committed the murders. Milan pointed to witnesses who said Reed bragged about killing Powers and Williams and ballistics evidence linking him to the murder weapon.
Members of Burge’s crew have been accused of torturing suspects between 1972 and 1991. Burge died in 2018. The city of Chicago has paid tens of millions of dollars to Burge victims.