After spending 29 years in prison, a wrongfully convicted Chicago man is back home with his family. Demond Weston was exonerated of charges including murder, and released from Dixon Correctional Center on Thursday (Dec. 19), ending a freedom fight that spanned much of his adult life.
At age 17, Western falsely confessed to murder following a 12-hour interrogation and torture session helmed by disgraced former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, who between 1972 and 1991, led a group of police officers known as the “Midnight Crew” that systematically tortured more than 100 black men and women into false confessions.
The torture tactics included suffocation, beatings, burnings, and electric shocks to victims’ genitals. Burge was eventually sentenced to four and half years for perjury and obstruction of justice, in relation to a civil lawsuit filed by Madison Hobley, a wrongfully convicted black man who was tortured into a confession and sentenced to death for a 1987 apartment fire that claimed the lives of his wife, son and five others. Burge was released from prison in 2014. He died last year.
Weston was falsely convicted in 1991 for the fatal shooting of one man, and involvement in three additional shootings. He maintained his innocence over the nearly three decades that he spent behind bars. After re-examining the case, Cook County prosecutors confirmed Weston’s innocence and requested that his convictions be vacated on Wednesday (Dec. 18). The torture allegations did not play into the conclusion, however, Weston can pursue a civil lawsuit against the state of Illinois for torture and wrongful conviction.
See more on his story in the video above.