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Anthony Shaw

Other Cook County Exonerations
On the night of February 11, 2012, Luke Gibson flagged down a Chicago police mass transit unit squad car outside of the Halsted Street station of the Chicago Transit Authority elevated line which runs down the center of the Congress Expressway.

Gibson told police he had been robbed of $20 at gunpoint by 29-year-old Anthony Shaw, who was inside the station. As officers entered the station, Gibson ran down the street. When he returned to the station, he discovered that the officers had handcuffed Shaw, but then released him after they failed to discover a gun or any money on him.

So, Gibson filed another report with different police officers. Three days later, on February 14, 2012, officers showed Gibson a photographic lineup. He chose Shaw’s photograph, and on the following day, Shaw was arrested and put in a live lineup. Gibson again identified him as the robber.

In October 2012, Shaw went to trial in Cook County Circuit Court and chose to have the case decided by a judge without a jury.

Gibson testified that at about 9:45 p.m., he boarded the train in the suburb of Oak Park headed into Chicago. The only other passenger in the car was sleeping several rows away. At one of the subsequent stops, Shaw entered the car and sat across the aisle from Gibson.

Gibson said Shaw tapped him on the shoulder and said, “We are going to do this easy way or the hard way” and demanded his money. Gibson pulled out his wallet and showed it only contained $2. Gibson said Shaw became “comical angry,” and pulled a semi-automatic handgun with a barrel of seven or eight inches out of his pocket and pressed it against Gibson’s side. Gibson said Shaw demanded more money and said he “didn’t have to have to kill” him.

Gibson said that he asked Shaw why he was willing to ruin the rest of his life over $2, and that he refused Shaw’s demand for his iPhone. During their argument, Gibson said, Shaw noticed his ATM card. Shaw told him to get off at the Halsted Street stop and go to a nearby ATM machine to get money to give him. While this was going on, Gibson said a teenage girl got on the train, looked at them, and got off at a subsequent stop.

Gibson testified that when the train stopped at the Halsted Street station, Shaw told him he would follow him to the ATM. Gibson said that Shaw remained at the turnstile in the station while he went to the ATM, withdrew the minimum amount of $20, and came back to the station where he gave Shaw the money. Gibson said he argued with Shaw about why he would rob someone at gunpoint for $20 and then he left. Outside, he said, he flagged down police and reported the robbery.

Gibson said he believed Shaw had a gun on him the entire time. He said that Shaw used “aggressive body language” and that he waved his arms “aggressively” back at Shaw.

Gibson conceded that even though the teenage girl saw him being robbed at gunpoint, she did not push any emergency buttons on the train platform when she left the train. He also said that the sleeping passenger never awoke despite their loud argument.

The prosecution presented three videos from the Halsted station security cameras. The first video showed Gibson and Shaw talking to each other as they walked along the platform after debarking from the train. The second video showed them walking up the ramp from the platform to the station. Halfway up the ramp, Gibson began to walk ahead of Shaw.

In the third video, Gibson walked through the station turnstiles and to an ATM. Shaw stopped at the turnstile. Several other people came through the station while Gibson was at the ATM. Gibson then returned to Shaw and there was some interaction, but it was unclear on the video. After about a minute, Gibson walked away and Shaw remained at the turnstile.

Then Shaw walked through the turnstile, tossed a small indistinguishable item into a garbage can and out of the video. About 15 seconds later, several people in the station began to stare in the direction Shaw went. About two minutes later, two police officers appear in the video with Shaw in handcuffs. One officer searched through the garbage can, and then the officers and Shaw walked out of the camera’s view. He was then released.

A Chicago police officer testified that he began an investigation of the robbery on February 14, 2012. He created the photographic lineup and showed it to Gibson, who identified Shaw.

Chicago police officer Eddie Cevallos testified that he and his partner, Kenny Mok, were in a mass transit unit squad car when Gibson ran up and said someone had tried to rob him. Cevallos said he and Mok stopped Shaw, searched him and the station, but found no gun or cash. Cevallos said Gibson left the scene after making his original complaint.

Another Chicago police officer said she interviewed Gibson later that night, and that he never mentioned $2 or a demand for his cell phone. Another officer, Robert Cibas, testified that he spoke with Gibson on February 15—the day Gibson identified Shaw in the lineup. Cibas said Gibson told him that the gun had a short barrel and that he told Shaw he did not have a cellphone. Gibson claimed that at one point, Shaw pushed him against a wall.

An investigator for Shaw’s defense lawyer testified that she interviewed Gibson prior to the trial. Gibson told her that Shaw stood just a few feet away from him as he withdrew the money from the ATM. He fled on foot immediately after handing the money to Shaw.

On October 18, 2012, Circuit Court Judge Evelyn Clay acquitted Shaw of armed robbery, but convicted him of a lesser-included offense of robbery. The judge noted that police never recovered a weapon “or even the funds.”

Although the judge found Gibson to be a credible witness, she said he appeared to “vacillate between fear and being indignant.” She added that there was “no rule book” on how a victim was supposed to act. The judge said the video confirmed the “essential facts” of the crime.

Shaw was sentenced to six years in prison. On March 11, 2015, Shaw was released from prison on parole.

On September 17, 2015, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed Shaw’s conviction and ordered him acquitted because the prosecution had failed to provide sufficient evidence of guilt. The appeals court said it had viewed the videos and concluded there was simply no evidence that Shaw ever had a gun.

“The state failed to prove that Shaw was able to secrete the handgun so well in a matter of seconds that its whereabouts eluded the police,” the court said. “Accordingly, we deem Gibson’s testimony regarding the handgun to be too implausible to be deemed credible.”

The appeals court said that Gibson had been impeached on numerous parts of his testimony and given inconsistent accounts of what happened. “While alone none of these various impeachments necessarily render Gibson’s testimony incredible, viewed in their entirety, the impeachments show that Gibson’s account at trial repeatedly strays from what he told police and from the videos,” the court said. “In light of this evidence, the state failed to meet its burden of proof.”

The court ordered Shaw acquitted. The prosecution filed a petition seeking permission to appeal, but the petition was denied on October 13, 2015. Shaw filed a petition seeking a certificate of innocence. On April 3, 2018, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Leroy Martin granted the petition. Subsequently, Shaw was awarded $97,075 in compensation from the state of Illinois.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/24/2019
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2012
Sentence:6 years
Age at the date of reported crime:29
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No