Chicago will pay $10.25 million to compensate a man who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit because of an alleged cover-up engineered by now-convicted former Area 2 Commander Jon Burge.
The 11th-hour settlement with Alton Logan will head off a trial that could have forced Burge to testify in court — via video hook-up from a federal prison in North Carolina — for the first time in 20 years.
The Logan settlement is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council’s Finance Committee, which is expected to approve it.
Jon Loevy, an attorney representing Logan, said the settlement is long overdue for a man who is still “struggling with the transition” nearly five years after his re-lease from prison.
“Mr. Logan lost 26 years of his life. He went in his 20s. He came out in his 50s. No amount of money can compensate a man for everything they lose under those circumstances,” he said.
“It’s hard to make a life when you’ve lost so much. He’s applied for hundreds of jobs. When they find out about this hole in his resume, it makes it very hard.”
Loevy added, “Mr. Logan’s case is an example of a sad truth: Sometimes, the wrong guy gets convicted of the crime. Fortunately in this in-stance, the truth came out.”
A $7 million report by special prosecutors concluded that Burge and his Area 2 underlings tortured criminal suspects for two decades while police brass looked the other way. But the report concluded it’s too late to prosecute because the statute of limitations has long since run out.
Burge was convicted in June 2010 of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the alleged torture that went on under his watch. He is serving a 41/2-year sentence in federal prison.
In 1982, Logan was arrested and charged with fatally shooting Lloyd Wickliffe, an off-duty Cook County corrections officer moonlighting as a security guard, during a robbery attempt at a South Side McDonald’s restaurant.
Logan, then 28, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, even though there was no physical evidence linking him to the murder.
In April 2008, Judge James Schreier vacated Logan’s conviction after attorneys Jamie Kunz and Dale Coventry revealed that Andrew Wilson — a convicted cop killer who was their client — admitted he had killed Wickliffe.
The attorneys kept the confession secret until Wilson died in prison in 2007, saying they were bound to honor their oath of confidentiality unlike other Burge victims, Logan did not claim to have been tortured into confessing to a murder he did not commit. Rather, Logan’s lawsuit maintained that evidence that would have exonerated Logan was covered up and even concealed from the Cook County State’s attorney’s office.