CHICAGO (CBS)—A convicted cop killer imprisoned for three decades may get a chance for freedom after a judge overturned his conviction Thursday.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker visited the Leighton Criminal Court building Thursday where Judge William Hooks issued a 120-page decision that said former police commander Jon Burge tortured Jackie Wilson, 57, into a murder confession.
Wilson and his brother Andrew were convicted in the 1982 killings of police officers Richard O’Brien and William Fahey.
Attorneys for Wilson argue he was beaten into giving a confession, like his brother Andrew, by Burge and his Area Two detectives—long-accused of overseeing the torture of black suspects
Wilson described the alleged torture at a court hearing at 26th and California in January.
“They beat me over the head with a dictionary, stuck a gun in my mouth. Then they did the electric shock,” Wilson said. “That came after this guy played Russian roulette with a gun in my mouth.”
Dozens of black men have accused Burge and his detectives of abuse and torture in the 1970’s and 80’s.
“The law reserves a special place for physically-coerced confessions, not only because they pervert the truth-seeking function, but because they undermine the overall integrity of the trial process,” he said in court Thursday.
“Since such a confession was used against Jackie Wilson to obtain his conviction, he is entitled to a new trial that confession may not be used.”
Wilson’s attorney Elliot Slosar said Wilson is elated.
“He’s been waiting for this moment for 36 years–to finally have a fair judge,” Slosar said.
The families of the officers killed declined to talk to reporters. Fraternal Order of Police spokesperson Martin Preib said that while police conduct shouldn’t be condoned, they were “extremely disappointed” in the judge’s ruling.
A status hearing on a request filed by Wilson’s attorneys for bail is scheduled for June 21.
Prosecutors will be unable to use Wilson’s confession as evidence during the new trial.