CHICAGO (CBS) — Attorneys for two men convicted of the 1989 murder of a retired Chicago police sergeant’s wife were headed to court Wednesday, seeking to prove their innocence based on DNA evidence and allegations of police torture.
Kevin Bailey and Corey Batchelor were 19 when they were found guilty of the fatal stabbing of Lula Mae Woods, whose body was found in the garage of her home in June 1989.
Police said an informant who claimed Batchelor admitted to the killing led to the arrests of the two suspects. They were convicted without physical evidence linking them to the crime, based largely on confessions.
Innocence Project attorney Jarrett Adams said recent DNA evidence proves Bailey and Batchelor are innocent. He said hair from a Domino’s Pizza hat found under Woods’ body does not match either man’s DNA, and neither does DNA evidence on a bloody towel found at the scene.
“Let me be very clear: I don’t want the listeners to feel like this is an attack on the police. At the same time, we know that technology, science has advanced. So now we have clear and convincing evidence of their innocence,” Adams said. “It was not Kevin Bailey and it was not Corey Batchelor.”
The case also has ties to detectives who worked for notorious Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge. Batchelor has claimed detectives under Burge’s command tortured him into confessing to the murder.
“We have evidence of these same individual officers in different cases with the same allegations: choking, the beating, the smacking with a phone book,” Adams said.
Batchelor was sentenced to 30 years, and freed from prison on parole in 2004, but Bailey has remained behind bars on an 80-year sentence.
“Corey Batchelor is out, but he’s incarcerated minus the bars. Kevin Bailey, he’s still in prison. Each day that goes by is a gamble, because prisons aren’t country clubs,” Adams said.
The case is expected to conclude next month.