Cook County judge rules Gerald Reed won't get new trial despite forced confession claims

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Cook County judge has reversed an earlier ruling that would've granted a new trial for a man who claims he was tortured into confessing to a double murder.

Fourteen months ago, 56-year-old Gerald Reed was granted a new trial after Judge Thomas Gainer overturned his conviction in December 2018.

The reversal Friday came amid claims Reed had been tortured into falsely confessing to a 1990 double murder by Chicago police detectives working for disgraced former commander Jon Burge.

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"I never would have thought that this judge would do what he did today," said Armanda Shackelford, Reed's mother. "It just hurts so bad."

Reed has continued to claim one of the Burge detectives kicked him so hard in the leg, it dislodged a titanium rod holding his fractured femur together.

"Gerald was tortured 29 years ago and he was tortured again today," said Aislinn Pulley, co-executive director of the Chicago Torture Justice Center.

At Friday's hearing, Judge Thomas Hennelly not only vacated Gainer's prior decision, but also ruled Reed should serve out his sentence of two life terms. Hennelly took over the case after the other judge retired.

"The legal issue is whether or not this court actually had jurisdiction to make this ruling at this stage of the proceedings," said defense attorney Larry Dreyfus.

Reed's attorneys said their client was completely blindsided and deeply disappointed by Friday's ruling. His supporters said they were shocked as well and are hoping Cook County's chief judge Timothy Evans can do something about it.

"Justice will be served," said Brian Ragsdale, of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. "We cry today but we will fight tomorrow."
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