In 1986, the People’s Gas Light and Coke Company hired a private investigations service to investigate employees suspected of theft. This investigation service included investigator Thomas Sheehan and ex-convict Willie Suggs as an undercover informant.
Donald Brock was one of 31 employees of Peoples Gas Light & Coke Co. in Chicago who were indicted in January 1988 for stealing gas meters in connection with an alleged scheme to hook up illegal gas service to buildings.
Brock waived a jury trial, electing to be tried before Cook County Circuit Court James M. Bailey, who found him guilty on April 10, 1989. Brock’s attorney, William P. Murphy, immediately filed a motion for a new trial. After six continuances, Murphy’s motion was still pending five months later when Cook County State’s Attorney Cecil A. Partee announced that charges pending against the other 30 Peoples Gas employees were being dropped as a result of “serious doubts” about the veracity of the star witness for the prosecution, Willie Suggs.
Judge Bailey granted the motion for a new trial on October 5, 1989, and Partee’s office immediately dismissed the charges.
— Center on Wrongful Convictions