2 men wrongly convicted suing city of Chicago, say confessions were forced

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Monday, April 2, 2018
2 men wrongly convicted suing city, say confessions were forced
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Two men wrongfully convicted of murder are now suing the city of Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two men wrongfully convicted of murder are suing the city of Chicago, saying a Chicago Police Department detective beat them into false confessions and coerced witnesses to testify against them.

The men accuse now retired police Detective Reynaldo Guevara and some of his co-workers for framing them for murder.

Attorneys say there are several cases linked to Guevara. They are calling on Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx to put together a panel to examine all the cases the detective was involved with.

Roberto Almodovar has been smiling ever since he was released from prison almost a year ago. So has Jose Maysonet, who walked out a free man over two years ago. Both men served a combined 50 years for murders they did not commit.

Now, 42-year-old Almodovar and 49-year-old Maysonet are filing federal lawsuits against the Chicago police detective who the men accuse of taking over two decades of their lives away.

"That is something money can never bring back, I missed my daughter's first step, first words, her first everything because of him," said Roberto Almodovar.

With no physical evidence linking him to the crime, Almodovar said now retired Detective Reynaldo Juevara coerced witnesses into blaming Almodovar for murder. Those witnesses later recanted.

Witness manipulation and a coerced confession helped convict Jose Maysonet, who felt betrayed by Guevara after the cop allegedly took $1,000 a week from Maysonet in hush money for not arresting him for drug crimes.

"How could that man come over here and be my buddy and one day, out of nowhere, and he beat you up," said Jose Maysonet.

Since 2016, eight convictions linked to Guevara have been tossed out and attorneys say there are several more cases pending.

"This is the Burge era on steroids, it's going to be worse, it's going to be more costly, it's more systemic," Steve Greenberg, the plaintiffs' attorney.

Robert Bouto is fighting for his exoneration. He was sent to prison at 17 for a murder he said he did not commit. Bouto said he was convicted after Guevara told witnesses to pick Bouto out in a line-up.

"They knew I didn't do it, they just wanted to close the case. They didn't care about who was guilty or who was innocent. They had a description of a shooter that was the complete opposite of me," said Robert Bouto.

Robert Bouto served his entire sentence. He said he will never give up fighting for his innocence in court.

Meantime, as for putting together a panel to examine all Guevara cases, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said her office will continue to handle the matters on a case-by-case basis.