A man convicted of a 1993 Humboldt Park killing became the 19th defendant to be exonerated in a murder case based on allegations he was framed by retired Chicago police Det. Reynaldo Guevara.
Gerardo Iglesias had already served his full sentence for the killing of Monica Roman, a conviction that rested largely on an confession he allegedly gave to a jailhouse informant –– a snitch who had given Guevara case-breaking tip in two other cases over a matter of weeks.
Cook County prosecutors on Wednesday agreed to vacate Iglesias’ conviction and drop charges against him.
Speaking to Spanish-language reporters, Iglesias said he missed the childhood of his son, who was an infant when he was arrested for the murder. Iglesias spent nearly 20 years in prison.
“It’s a whole other world in prison,” said Iglesias, who has been working in construction since completing his sentence seven years ago.
Francisco Vicente, the jailhouse informant who claimed to have heard Iglesias confess, recanted his testimony against Iglesias and two other men in separate cases, both of whom also have had their convictions overturned.Vicente now says he was both threatened by Guevara and received a light sentence in his own case.
After his own hearing in front of Judge Thaddeus Wilson, Iglesias took a seat in a seventh-floor courtroom to watch a hearing involving the case of Robert Bouto, whose conviction for a 1993 murder was vacated in April.
Witnesses who testified at Bouto’s trial have since recanted their testimony, stating that they were threatened by Guevara into identifying Bouto as the killer of 15-year-old Salvador Ruvalcaba. Chief Judge LeRoy K. Martin Jr. continued Bouto’s certificate of innocence hearing to next week. A certificate of innocence would allow Bouto to make a claim for a payout from a state fund for the wrongfully convicted, as well as access counseling and employment training.
Dozens of defendants have claimed they were victims of similar frame-ups by Guevara, who retired from CPD in 2005 after more than three decades working as a detective on the Northwest Side. The city has paid out millions to settle lawsuits brought by many of those defendants, including $16.4 million paid out to Juan Johnson.
Guevara has refused to answer questions under oath about the misconduct allegations during post-conviction hearings and civil litigation, asserting his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
At a 2017 hearing in the case of Arturo DeLeon-Reyes and Gabriel Solache, Guevara was granted immunity by prosecutors and still declined to talk about allegations he abused suspects and witnesses.
Judge James Obbish said the few answers Guevara did give amounted to “bald-faced lies” and said the retired detective should never be allowed to testify in court again. Prosecutors later dropped charges against Reyes and Solache, freeing them after serving nearly 20 years in prison for a brutal 1998 double-murder of a Bucktown couple.