JOLIET, Unwell. (TOC) — Tuesday was the day Jose Cruz’s household feared would by no means come.
His sister held him tightly after he left Stateville Jail.
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He was greeted by pals and relations, together with his cousin, who was his alibi years in the past. As an alternative of believing his household, police and prosecutors believed the now-disgraced former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara.
“No one wished to consider us however now right here we’re. Do you consider us now?” Cruz mentioned.
Cruz was sentenced to 90 years for a homicide conviction that was vacated Monday. Cruz is now 53. He spent greater than 28 years in jail.
“This can be a joyful second,” Cruz mentioned. “This can be a joyful second. There may be nothing to be unhappy about. I am not offended. I forgive Guevara and everyone who did what they did to me.”
“I am so joyful that justice got here,” mentioned Jose Ortiz, Cruz’s nephew. “Clearly, it did not come quick sufficient for my grandmother to see this and my grandfather and my aunts and uncles that handed away.”
“They advised me my father has most cancers. It was very troublesome. And my brother had most cancers. It was troublesome. My mother handed. It was very troublesome additionally,” Cruz mentioned.
Based on Cruz’s lawyer, there are greater than 50 instances linked to Guevara and thus far, about half have been thrown out. Guevara retired and has not been charged.
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“He was artful on how he acquired folks convicted and now he is being artful about how he is not going to get in hassle himself,” mentioned Heart on Wrongful Convictions’ Greg Swygert, who’s Cruz’s lawyer.
Ultimately, Cruz hopes to get a Certification of Innocence with the intention to have his conviction expunged. For now, Cruz went on to his aunt’s restaurant for jibarito, a Puerto Rican specialty. And later this week, he plans to be in court docket supporting inmates who’re hoping their exoneration in subsequent.
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