After 26 years, man walks out of prison

Attorney knew he was innocent
April 18, 2008 8:40:46 PM PDT
A man who spent 26 years in prison for a Chicago restaurant murder is getting a new trial and was released from prison Friday night.Alton Logan had been behind bars for the 1982 shooting at a South Side McDonald's restaurant, even though some attorneys knew he was innocent.

Logan's family and friends were so excited to hear that the judge was going to grant him bond while he awaits a new trial that they took up a collection in the court lobby and almost immediately came up with the $1,000 needed to post bond so that Logan could taste freedom for the first time in 26 years.

Logan's family had waited more than two and a half decades for what happened Friday, and they said they always had faith it would happen, even though several witnesses identified Logan as an accomplice to the murder of a security guard in 1992. Logan's family said they always knew he was innocent.

A judge has agreed he deserves a new trial.

"My big brother left me a long time ago. I had to stand up and grow up with only one brother of mine, and I had two of them. But, the state is going to give him back to me," Eugene Logan said.

"He's the one that did the work. He stayed there 26 years. We just stayed home and prayed and visited him when we could. He's the one that deserves all the praise," Logan's aunt, Barbara Cannon, said.

Inside the court, the judge heard about an alleged confession to the crime from another man, Andrew Wilson. Wilson's lawyers were denied talking about the crime for 26 years.

Logan talked to ABC News from prison recently and said he's not bitter at the attorneys.

"Had they said anything, the likelihood of them being disbarred as lawyers was great. I understand all that now. I understood it then, I just didn't want to accept it," he said.

The judge said he believes the guilty verdict in Logan's original trial would be different with the new evidence of the confession.

Logan's attorney said he hopes the issue is settled soon.

"I'm hoping that Attorney General Lisa Madigan will review it very carefully. If her office decides a retrial is not needed, they can drop the charges," said defense attorney Harold Winston.

There is also physical evidence linking Andrew Wilson to the crime, several guns that police were able to recover.

Logan has spent half his life behind bars. He was not allowed to go to the funeral of the grandmother who raised him.

He was sentenced in 1982 to life in prison rather than the death penalty. He reflected on that during a recent interview with ABC.

"Giving an individual the death penalty is giving them a fast death. Giving an individual natural life is giving them a slow death, a lingering death," he said.


Load Comments