Convicted Sex Offender Charged In 1991 Rape, Murder Of Dixmoor Girl

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly five years after the so-called Dixmoor Five were cleared of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl, a convicted sex offender has been charged in the case.

DNA evidence linked 58-year-old Willie Randolph to the murder of 14-year-old Cateresa Matthews five years ago, prompting prosecutors to clear the Dixmoor Five, but Randolph was not charged until Wednesday.

Cateresa was kidnapped at a bus stop in 1991. Her body was found three weeks later in a field near Interstate 57. She had been raped, shot in the mouth, and left for dead.

A year later, five teenagers were arrested. Although DNA testing did not link any of them to the crime, three of them confessed and two – Robert Lee Veal and Shainnie Sharp – agreed to testify against the others in exchange for reduced sentences.

Veal and Sharp served about 10 years, while the others got 80 to 85 years.

In 2010, Veal and Sharp recanted. Veal’s attorneys said police coerced his confession, taking advantage of the fact he was only 15 and had a low IQ. In 2011, more advanced DNA testing linked Randolph to the crime. By then, Veal and Sharp had completed their sentences. Their three co-defendants were exonerated and set free.

The Dixmoor Five sued Dixmoor Police and Illinois State Police officers in 2012. Their attorneys claimed police coerced false confession and ignored evidence pointing to Randolph. Two years later, Illinois State Police agreed to a $40 million settlement.

Police said Randolph has been in and out of prison most of his life. He currently is serving a three-year sentence on drug charges.

Although DNA testing linked Randolph to Cateresa’s death in 2011, authorities said they did not have enough evidence against him to bring charges until now.

Randolph was due to appear for a bond hearing at the Markham courthouse Thursday afternoon.

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