Long road to freedom

Posthumous confession seems to exonerate prisoner after 26 years
July 10, 2008 4:14:05 PM PDT
Alton Logan appeared in court Monday hoping the hearing was the beginning of the end to his nightmare. Logan has spent the last 26 years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit.

Imagine the pain of being in prison for 26 years for a crime you didn't commit. Imagine having information that would clear such a person, but not being able to share it for all those years. Attorneys say it was agonizing holding onto the truth about Alton Logan that long -- but they felt they were bound to silence by attorney-client privilege.

Alton Logan has sat in prison for 26 years, always maintaining his innocence in the 1982 shooting death of a security guard at a South Side McDonald's. And for most of that time attorney Jamie Kunz had information that Logan was indeed innocent.

"It bothered us, the way it bothers any citizen, to think an innocent person is in prison, except we had first-hand knowledge," said Jamie Kunz, defense attorney.

First-hand knowledge from his client, Andrew Wilson, who was convicted of killing two Chicago police officers. When Kunz and his legal partner were told by another attorney that Wilson had actually killed the security guard, they asked Wilson about it in prison.

"We said is it true, that you were the one with the shotgun? He said yep, that was me," said Kunz.

But Kunz says he was bound to keep it a secret -- bound by his word and attorney-client privilege.

Back in March of 1982, the attorneys put the confession into this affidavit, sealed it in a lockbox and eventually persuaded Wilson to make the confession public after he died.

In November, Wilson died in prison.

Monday, attorneys were back in court petitioning the judge for a new trial for Alton Logan. Attorney Marc Miller testified how his client -- Edgar Hope -- first told him that Logan was innocent. Hope was convicted along with Logan in the McDonald's case.

"That's a nightmare that's been haunting us for many years up until the death of Mr. Wilson," said Marc Miller, defense attorney.

Wilson's case is also infamous because he claimed he was tortured, coerced with electrical shocks and more by former police lieutenant Jon Burge.

Now, Alton Logan's family is seeking what they say is long overdue justice.

"Twenty-six years of his life...he didn't get a chance to raise a family, didn't get a chance to spend with me and my younger brother here," said Tony Logan, brother.

Now, the judge must decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a new trial for Logan. The next hearing is scheduled for April 18.

In the meantime, Alton Logan continues to sit in prison. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan does have the power to speed this up, but, so far, Madigan's office will only say that the matter is under review.


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