Decision on retrying Alton Logan postponed

August 13, 2008 12:52:01 PM PDT
He's free, but he's not free. Alton Logan spent over 25 years behind bars for murder. But another man confessed to that crime. While Logan is out of prison now, his future remains in limbo. Even though another man confessed to the murder that sent Alton Logan to prison, there were witnesses who identified Logan many years ago. Before the case against Logan is dropped -- if that's indeed what's to happen -- efforts have to be made to find those witnesses and question them. Prosecutors for the attorney general's office last month said they needed more time to do that, and again Tuesday they asked for more time, which has frustrated Alton Logan.

Rewind to mid-April of this year and you see tears of joy as Alton Logan -- released after 26 years in prison -- is embraced by his family. Now, fast forward to today as Alton Logan leaves court surrounded by his family, the tears of joy replaced by frustration.

"I ain't got a life. I'm not free. I'm just here," said Logan.

Logan had hoped Tuesday to learn whether the state would either drop the charge against him or retry him for the 1982 shotgun slaying of a South Side McDonald's security guard.

Years ago, Andrew Wilson, confessed to the murder in front of his lawyers. But they were bound by attorney-client privilege and were able to reveal the confession only after Wilson's death in prison last year.

So, is there still a case against Logan? The Attorney General's office is trying to decide that and Tuesday asked for more time to locate a couple witnesses to the murder 26 years ago. Prosecutors say they must be thorough.

So Alton Logan continues to wait. He cannot yet sue the state for wrongful imprisonment. He says he's looked but has been unable to find a job. No employer wants him under the circumstances.

"When a man can't take care of himself, take care of what he has to do, that's frustration," said Logan.

What Logan does have is a family that has stood by him.

"They haven't given him any money and what have you, so we're supporting him and they're trying to wear him down, and we keep coming, and they can't forget 'cause we're gonna be there," said Barbara Cannon, Logan's aunt.

"Until this is resolved, I'm stuck at a standstill," said Logan.

Logan's attorneys asked Tuesday that the case be set for trial. In Logan's words, "Let's settle the issue once and for all." Whether it might come to that will probably be known September 4 when everyone in the case heads back to court again.


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