Brothers released from prison 25 years after they say they were framed by disgraced Chicago detective

“Free at last,” their mother said repeatedly through tears.

SHARE Brothers released from prison 25 years after they say they were framed by disgraced Chicago detective
Juan Hernandez (left) embraces his son, Donnovan, for the first time in 25 years.

Juan Hernandez (left) embraces his son, Donnovan, for the first time in 25 years.

Provided by Josh Tepfer

Brothers Juan and Rosendo Hernandez walked out of the doors of the Dixon Correctional Center shortly after noon Friday as free men after spending 25 years of their life locked up for a crime they say they didn’t commit.

In a video released by their attorneys, family members cheered and ran toward the brothers as they were released.

“Free at last,” their mother said repeatedly through tears.

A day earlier, Cook County Judge Joanne Rosado overturned both brothers’ murder convictions in a 1997 shooting, and prosecutors said they would not pursue their case further.

Brothers Juan and Rosendo Hernandez walk out of the Dixon Correctional Center on Friday after spending 25 years in prison for a crime they say they didn’t commit as family members rush toward them.

Brothers Juan and Rosendo Hernandez walk out of the Dixon Correctional Center on Friday after spending 25 years in prison for a crime they say they didn’t commit as family members rush toward them. A Cook County judge overturned their convictions in a 1997 murder a day earlier.

Provided by Josh Tepfer

The brothers maintain they were framed by disgraced former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara in an act of revenge at the behest of another former Chicago cop — Officer Joseph Miedzianowski — who federal prosecutors have called the “most corrupt” police officer ever prosecuted at the downtown federal courthouse.

At a hearing last month, a witness testified that Guevara was going to help Miedzianowski — a former gang unit detective — get Juan Hernandez for stealing marijuana from a dealer who worked for Miedzianowski.

Miedzianowski is serving a life sentence for running a drug trafficking and protection racket during the 1990s.

In a statement after the hearing, prosecutors noted the numerous allegations of misconduct againstGuevara.

Rosendo Hernandez hugs his mother Friday outside the Dixon Correctional Center after a judge overturned his conviction in a 1997 murder a day earlier.

Rosendo Hernandez hugs his mother Friday outside the Dixon Correctional Center after a judge overturned his conviction in a 1997 murder a day earlier.

Provided by Josh Tepfer

“Based on our review of this case, which included allegations of misconduct involving Detective Guevara, we agree with the Judge’s decision and noted on the record that we will not pursue a new trial,” the state’s attorney’s office said.

The two men will now seek a certificate of innocence in their cases, their attorneys said, so they can be fully exonerated.

More than 20 people convicted in cases tied to Guevara have been exonerated, according to the Exoneration Project. Guevara has been repeatedly accused of engaging in misconduct, including fabricating evidence and police reports, and coercing witnesses to make identifications, sometimes using violence, according to court records.

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