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Murder exonerees sue city, police officers

Two men who spent a combined total of almost 50 years in prison for murders that they did not commit have filed separate federal lawsuits against the city of Chicago and the police officers who investigated their cases.

Daniel Andersen¬†spent 27 years behind bars for the 1980 rape and murder of his childhood friend in the Back of the Yards neighborhood before DNA evidence cleared him in 2007. Tyrone Hood‘s sentence was commuted by former Gov. Pat Quinn after he spent 22 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a star basketball player at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1993.

Charges were formally dropped last year for both men after judges tossed the convictions and ordered new trials.

Andersen claimed he was beaten into confessing to the fatal stabbing of 20-year-old Cathy Trunko in the 4900 block of South Paulina. A knife that a judge called the “lynchpin” of the case against him later was found not to have the woman’s blood on it, and DNA found under her fingernails excluded Andersen as the killer, the Sun-Times previously reported.

Hood was similarly coerced into a false confession after 20-year-old Marshall Morgan Jr. was found shot to death in his car, though investigators ignored the man’s father as a suspect even though he had taken out a life insurance policy on Morgan, his suit says. Marshall Morgan Sr. is serving a 75-year sentence for the 2001 fatal shooting of his girlfriend.

A spokesman for the city’s law department said the suits had not been served as of Friday night and declined to comment.

Hood’s suit names as defendants 11 police officers he claims were “engaged in a tapestry of egregious wrongdoing” that fabricated and withheld evidence and threatened witnesses to frame him. Andersen’s suit names 14 officers he claims “agreed among themselves to protect one another from liability” in the conspiracy to implicate him.

Both men are seeking an unspecified amount in punitive and compensatory damages.