Committee Backs $3.6M Settlement For Wrongful Conviction
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CHICAGO (CBS) – The City Council Finance Committee has given preliminary approval to $3.6 million settlement, in a case which put a man behind bars for nearly a decade for an attack he didn’t commit.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Robert Wilson, now 56, was arrested for attempted murder in 1997, for the slashing attack of 24-year-old June Siler.
At first, Wilson denied involvement, and he didn’t match the victim’s description of her attacker. But First Asst. Corporation Counsel Leslie Darling told aldermen he was prosecuted anyway.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
“Wilson later confessed to this crime, but he contends his confession was coerced by the progressive result of 30 hours of detention, threats of physical abuse, and denial of his blood pressure medication, which caused him to become ill and fear for his life,” Darling said during Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.
In the two weeks after Wilson’s arrest, another man committed several similar attacks in the area where Siler was attacked, but a judge refused to allow that into evidence at trial.
Wilson convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison, but was freed after 9 years and 9 months in jail after a federal judge ordered a new trial, ruling Wilson’s attorneys should have been allowed to present the evidence of the other attacks.
The suspect in those attacks confessed to attacking Siler and the victim said her identification of Wilson as her attacker was rigged by police, prompting prosecutors to drop charges against Wilson.
In 2007, Wilson sued the city, accusing police of falsifying evidence and coercing a false confession to frame him for a crime they knew he didn’t commit.
The settlement agreement for $3.6 million was approved by the City Council Finance Committee and now goes to the full council for final approval.