South Side man`s rape conviction overturned - Fox 2 News Headlines

South Side man`s rape conviction overturned after decades in prison

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Cook County judge Tuesday overturned the conviction of a South Side man who spent the last three decades behind bars for a brutal gang rape he said he was forced to confess to by abusive detectives working under the now disgraced police commander, Jon Burge.

In siding with Stanley Wrice, Judge Richard Walsh said it was "unrebutted" that the detectives taking orders from the Area 2 commander beat both Wrice and Bobbie Joe Williams, who took the stand against Wrice at his trial in the 1983, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

On Monday, Wrice, said in the fall of 1982, detectives John Byrne and Peter Dignan hit him twice in the basement of Area 2 police headquarters — Byrne with a flashlight and Dignan with a 20-inch piece of rubber.

Williams also said he was forced to point the finger at Wrice.

"I was beaten into a false statement," Williams said. "I was scared."

Both detectives invoked the 5th Amendment during Wrice's evidentiary hearing Monday.

Wrice, 59, had been serving a 100-year prison sentence.

Two of his co-defendants received probation and a third received a four year sentence, Wrice's attorneys said.

Earlier Tuesday, Appellate Court Judge Bertina Lampkin, who tried Wrice when she was a prosecutor, said Williams never told her he was physically or psychologically abused when she met with him at least twice, months after the 1982 crime.

"He didn't tell me anybody did anything to him," Lampkin said.

Lampkin said she vividly remembers details of the heinous gang rape because it was "one of the most brutal" cases she dealt with.

Wrice's attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said while what happened to the victim was unconscionable, imprisoning the wrong man was a failure of justice.

In urging Walsh to overturn Wrice's conviction, Bonjean noted how Nelson Mandela was living proof that society's ills can be fixed.

Bonjean then skewered Dignan and Byrne for wrongly accusing Wrice because of "racism and hatred."

"They didn't care about getting the right guy. They cared about beating a black man," the defense attorney said.

When assistant special prosecutor Myles O'Rourke gave his closing arguments, Walsh rhetorically asked if chaining a man to a wall and using a flashlight to hit a man's testicles was "good clean fun."

O'Rourke said there was "insufficient evidence" that Wrice was innocent.

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