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Wayne Washington

Other Cook County CIU Cases
On May 8, 1993, 20-year-old Marshall Morgan, Jr., a stand-out basketball player for the Illinois Institute of Technology, borrowed his mother’s car to get it cleaned prior to going out on a date with his girlfriend that night.
 
Morgan did not come home and on May 17, 1993, his partially-clad body was found wedged between the front and back seats of the car parked on a side street on the South Side of Chicago. The body was covered with garbage.
 
Three days later, police matched fingerprints on two beer bottles found in the car to 29-year-old Tyrone Hood, who lived about eight miles from where the body was found. Police questioned him for two days—Hood said he was physically abused—but he was released after he maintained he was innocent.
 
Police identified another fingerprint found on one of the bottles in the car as Joe West’s, a man who lived a couple of blocks from Hood. On May 27, 1993, police were looking for West when they found Hood in a neighborhood grocery mart along with 20-year-old Wayne Washington. Detectives took Hood and Washington to a police station and began questioning them.
 
Washington ultimately confessed—falsely he claimed—that he and Hood had planned to rob someone and that they obtained a gun from Jody Rogers. Washington later said his false confession came after the detectives—Kenneth Boudreau and John Halloran—beat and slapped him. Washington said he signed a confession “because I couldn’t stand the beatings any longer.”
 
The detectives then brought in Jody Rogers, who later said he, too, was physically abused until he agreed to say that he provided a gun to Hood and that he heard Hood admit to killing Morgan. Rogers gave the same statement to a Cook County grand jury, but later recanted the statements as false.
 
The detectives also brought in and interrogated Joe West, the second man whose fingerprints they had identified on bottles in the car, and Rogers’ brother, Michael Rogers.
 
According to detectives, West said he had seen Hood driving in a car and flagged him down to see if Hood could help him find some marijuana. West said he looked backward and saw someone lying across the back seat. He said he asked Hood about the man and Hood brushed him off. West said he got out of the car and as the car drove off, he heard gunshots. Police said Michael Rogers told them that he heard Hood say he was going to do a “sting,” which meant a robbery.
 
Armed with the statements from West and Rogers’ brother, as well as Washington’s confession, Police charged Hood and Washington with first degree murder and armed robbery.
 
Not long after, Jody and Michael Rogers both recanted to defense lawyers for Washington and Hood. Both said they were physically abused and threatened to implicate the defendants.
 
In the fall of 1995, Washington went to trial in Cook County Circuit Court. Jody and Michael Rogers testified that their recantations were false and implicated Washington and Hood in the murder.
West never testified because he died prior to the trial.
 
Despite Washington’s confession—which the defense argued was coerced and the product of physical torture—the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and a mistrial was declared.
Hood went to trial in April 1996 and elected to have a judge hear the case without a jury. Jody and Michael Rogers again testified for the prosecution and implicated Hood in the crime.
 
The prosecution introduced the testimony of an eyewitness, Emanuel Bob, who testified that he saw Hood driving the victim’s car either between 9 p.m. and 11pm on May 9, 1993 or between midnight and 3 a.m. on May 10, 1993. The witness, who emerged three years after the murder and virtually on the eve of trial, said his memory was triggered by a casual conversation about the case.
 
Hood’s attorney, Jim Mullenix, attempted to convince the trial judge that Morgan had been killed by his own father, Marshall Morgan Sr. Mullenix claimed that in 1995 Marshall Sr.’s fiancé, Michelle Soto, was murdered and her naked body was found wedged between the front and back seats of her car. Although police had questioned him, he was not arrested.
 
Marshall Sr., who had a prior conviction for voluntary manslaughter, had inserted himself into his son’s life in 1992, shortly before Morgan was killed and after being absent for about 18 years. After Morgan was killed, his father had collected $44,000 on a life insurance policy Marshall Sr. had taken out on his son just a few months earlier.
 
Mullenix discovered that after Soto was murdered, Marshall Sr. collected $107,000 from an insurance policy he had taken out on Soto’s life.
 
Mullenix argued that Marshall Sr., killed his son and covered the body with trash from a dumpster near Corliss High School where Marshall Sr. worked as a janitor. The high school was two blocks from Hood’s house.
 
Marshall Sr. testified and said that he saw his son on the morning of May 8—the last day he was seen alive and gave him $350 for his date—slightly different from his previous statement to police that he saw Morgan that afternoon and gave him $125.
 
The judge refused to allow Mullenix to question Marshall Sr. about the life insurance policy on his son or the policy and death of Soto.
Hood was convicted by a judge of first-degree murder and armed robbery on May 6, 1996. He was sentenced to 75 years in prison.
 
Later that year, Washington, fearing he would receive the same sentence, pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
 
In 2000, in response to a plea for help from a pen-pal network for inmates, a woman from Australia named Barbara Santek contacted Hood. She began exchanging letters with Hood and he eventually sent her the record of his case. She became convinced he was innocent and in 2002 came to the U.S. She never returned to Australia and spent the next several years attempting to get someone to take his case. She discovered, as she investigated, a series of articles in 2001—five years after Hood’s trial—in the Chicago Tribune newspaper about false and coerced confessions. Detective, Kenneth Boudreau—one of the officers who questioned Hood and Washington—had obtained false confessions from more than a dozen defendants.
 
Ultimately, in 2007, after Hood’s appeals had long been rejected, Santek persuaded Loevy & Loevy, a law firm in Chicago to re-examine the case. Loevy & Loevy attorney Gayle Horn, a founding member of the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago, volunteered to work without a fee and began interviewing witnesses. Washington, who was released on parole in May 2007, said his confession was false and the result of physical abuse by the detectives.
 
In 2008, Jody Rogers and his brother, Michael, signed sworn recantations. Michael also said that he had been paid $1,000 in cash by police for his cooperation. The payment had not been revealed to Hood or Washington’s lawyers by the prosecution.
 
That same year, Marshall Sr. went to trial on charges of murdering Deborah Jackson—another girlfriend. Marshall Sr. admitted he shot her while they were quarreling in a car. He confessed that although she was still alive, he put her in the trunk of the car and abandoned it on the street. Morgan Sr. was convicted and sentenced to 75 years in prison.
 
In 2012, Hood’s attorney, Horn, assembled all the evidence she had that pointed to Marshall Sr. as the killer and asked the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit to reinvestigate the case. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez agreed to re-examine the case, but in 2013, she ended the investigation and concluded that Hood was guilty.
 
In August 2014, the New Yorker magazine published a lengthy article that detailed all the evidence that Marshall Sr. killed his son. In November 2014, lawyers for Hood filed a clemency petition, noting that Marshall Sr. had not seen his son almost since birth when he suddenly re-appeared in 1992 and took out an insurance policy on his son's life. They argued that the evidence against Hood was based on testimony that had been recanted. In addition, an expert on eyewitness evidence filed a report for the defense that explained that the eyewitness identification at Hood’s trial was virtually impossible given the physical layout of the neighborhood.
 
On January 12, 2015, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn commuted Hood’s sentence and two days later, on January 14, Hood was released.
 
On February 9, 2015, Alvarez’s Conviction Integrity Unit requested that the convictions of Hood and Washington be vacated. The motion was granted and the charges against the two were dismissed. In January 2016, Washinton filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago and the police department accusing police officers of framing him.
 
– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 2/12/2015
Last Updated: 2/4/2016
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1993
Convicted:1996
Exonerated:2015
Sentence:25 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:20
Contributing Factors:False Confession, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No