Cook County prosecutors said today that they would not retry four men who won new trials late last year in a brutal 1994 murder in the Englewood neighborhood after DNA evidence from the crime linked a convicted murderer who has since died to the crime.
Judge Paul Biebel, the presiding judge at the Criminal Court Building, threw out the convictions in November, saying DNA evidence connecting the convicted murderer, Johnny Douglas, was powerful evidence of the four men's innocence and likely would lead to acquittals at a new trial.
Terrill Swift, Vincent Thames, Michael Saunders and Harold Richardson were all teens when they were charged with the murder of 30-year-old Nina Glover.
Primitive DNA testing before trial excluded them as the source of semen found in Glover's body, but prosecutors said confessions connected the men to Glover's death.
After his release from prison on parole, Swift sought DNA testing in the hopes it would identify the real killer. Prosecutors initially opposed the new testing but later agreed. A match was made to Douglas, who had been shot to death in 2008. Prosecutors sought to minimize the DNA link to Douglas, saying Glover's history of trading sex for drugs made it possible that she had consensual sex with Douglas.
The decision by State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to dismiss the case comes just 2½ months after she announced that prosecutors would also drop rape and murder convictions against five men in the 1991 slaying of a 14-year-old girl in Dixmoor. In that case, new DNA testing linked a convicted rapist to the crime. Prosecutors have not charged that man.