Johnnie Lee Savory Sues Peoria For Coerced Confession

CHICAGO (AP) — A traumatic twilight zone.

That is how Johnnie Lee Savory describes his wrongful conviction for a double murder and rape when he was just 14-years old.

Decades later now, he is filing a civil rights lawsuit.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports lawyers believe everyone should care about this case.

“It was like, twilight zone,” said Savory. “One minute I was in school, next I was in jail.”

That was almost 40 years ago. Today, Johnnie Lee Savory is free, but has not forgotten his 30 years in jail for the 1977 rape and double murder in Peoria he and his lawyers say he did not commit.

Savory was released on parole and pardoned by governor Pat Quinn two years ago. He is filing a civil rights lawsuit again Peoria and members of the Peoria Police Department, claiming his initial, later tossed, confession was coerced, evidence was fabricated and destroyed and that he was subjected to an unconstitutional interrogation, without parent or attorney for 31 hours.

Savory and attorneys hope his case will shine a light on flaws in the system that still exists. It all could have broken him, he said. But it didn’t.

“Dreams don’t die, unless you quit,” Savory said. “There is no quit in me.”

Spokespeople for the city of Peoria, the Peoria Police Department and the Illinois State Police crime lab offered a no comment regarding the lawsuit and allegations.

Savory, a new father, now lives in the Chicago area.

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