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Carlos Andino

Other Exonerations with Misconduct by Detective Guevara
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Shortly before 8 p.m. on April 11, 1994, Mark Dibicki was using a pay telephone near a laundromat in the 3700 block of West Fullerton Avenue in Chicago, Illinois when a man approached and demanded his money and his pager. Dibicki, who was intoxicated, refused and was fatally shot.

Fourteen-year-old Christopher Smith and his sisters, 11-year-old Kimberly and 10-year-old Katherine, who lived in an apartment above the laundromat, were standing on the street. They had rung the doorbell and were waiting for their mother to come down to let them in.

Although all three children witnessed parts of the shooting, only Christopher spoke to police that night. He said that the gunman had a shaved head.

Immediately after the shooting, police looked for two men. And two men were briefly arrested, but were released without being charged.

Theresa Rios was among several people in the laundromat at the time. She told police she heard two gunshots, and then the children came into the laundromat and said someone had been shot. Rios said she saw a man run slowly past the window. She said the man was Puerto Rican, 24 to 25 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 150 pounds, and had a “goatee type of thing, mustache type of thing.”

Rios later looked through photographs supplied by police, including by detectives Reynaldo Guevara and Ernest Halvorsen, but did not make any identification.

Three months later, on July 16, 1994, Detective Ronald Koncz reported that he was at Mozart Park, located about a half-mile from the shooting, when an informant said the gunman was nicknamed “Harpo” and had a first name of Carlos. Koncz would later say he consulted a gang member database and found that 21-year-old Carlos Andino had the nickname of “Harpo.” Koncz then contacted Rios and showed her a photographic lineup. She picked out Andino’s photograph as the man she saw run slowly by the laundromat after the shooting.

Koncz would later admit that he never wrote a report about his conversation with the informant, did not inventory the photographic array, and did not prepare a report of Rios’s identification. Koncz said he informed Guevara and Halvorsen, who were the lead detectives on the case. There was no attempt to ask any other people in the laundromat to view the lineup. This included Javier Estrada, who was in the laundromat at the time of the shooting.

On August 14, 1994, Guevara and Halvorsen visited the Smith apartment. The children were taken to the police station. There, all three identified Andino as the gunman.

Andino was arrested on August 18, 1994 and was charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery. In November 1996, he went to trial in Cook County Circuit Court. The prosecution sought the death penalty.

Katherine Smith, who had been 10 years old at the time of the crime, testified she saw two men approach Dibicki. She said the gunman, whom she identified as Andino, was wearing a hoodie that covered most of his face and his head. She said the gunman had a dark complexion—though Andino was light-skinned—and had no facial hair. She said the gunman asked Dibicki for his money and pager. When Dibicki refused, there was a struggle, and she saw a gun in Andino’s hand. She got scared and turned away. She heard a shot, and then she and her siblings ran to the door of the laundromat, she said. As they pushed open the door, Katherine said she saw Andino shoot and miss, and then push the gun against Dibicki’s body, and shoot him.

From inside the laundromat, Katherine said she saw Dibicki crawling toward a dry cleaners next door. The gunman then ran past the laundromat, she said.

Kimberly gave a similar account, although she said she did not hear the gunman speak to Dibicki.

Christopher testified that the gunman was a male Hispanic between 20 and 25 years of age with a light or dark complexion.

All three children identified Andino as the gunman. Rios testified and identified Andino as the man she saw slowly run past the laundromat window.

A medical examiner testified that Dibicki died of two gunshot wounds to the chest.

Halvorsen testified about the lineup identifications and said that all three children individually viewed a live lineup and identified Andino. He denied showing them any photographs prior to the lineup or telling them who to identify.

Andino testified and denied any involvement in the crime. He told the jury that he was babysitting his six-month old daughter at the time of the crime. The child’s mother also testified that Andino was caring for the child at that time.

On November 21, 1996, the jury convicted Andino of first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery. Judge Frank Suria declined to impose the death penalty and sentenced Andino to 60 years in prison.

In 1999, the First District Illinois Appellate Court upheld the convictions and sentence.

In the ensuing years, murder cases handled by Guevara and Halvorsen began to fall apart as evidence was developed showing that through a pattern of threats and physical violence, they coerced false confessions from defendants as well as false witness identifications.

In February 2004, Juan Johnson, whose 30-year prison sentence for a murder conviction had been vacated in 2002, was acquitted at a retrial. A federal jury later awarded Johnson $21 million in damages from the city based on evidence that the original three eyewitnesses recanted their testimony and revealed that they were coerced by Guevara to identify Johnson.

In October 2011, Jacques Rivera was exonerated of a murder. He later filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing Guevara and other officers of burying evidence and pressuring the witness to falsely identify him as the triggerman. In 2018, a jury awarded Rivera $17.175 million.

In 2016, the murder convictions of Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano were vacated and the charges were dismissed. Both had been convicted on false testimony that had been coerced by Guevara.

In April 2017, Roberto Almodovar and William Negron were exonerated after evidence showed that Guevara had improperly influenced witnesses to identify them as the shooter and driver in a drive-by shooting that killed two people and wounded a third.

In November 2017, Jose Maysonet became the seventh person to be exonerated based on misconduct by Guevara. Maysonet, who was serving a sentence of life in prison without parole, falsely confessed after a 17-hour interrogation punctuated by beatings and torture by Guevara.

In December 2017, Gabriel Solache and Arturo DeLeon-Reyes, who claimed that Guevara had beaten them into confessing to a murder they didn’t commit, had their murder convictions vacated and the charges dismissed.

In January 2021, attorneys Jennifer Bonjean and Ashley Cohen filed a post-conviction petition seeking to vacate Andino’s convictions. The petition said that Katherine and Christopher had told police at the time of the crime that the gunman had a teardrop tattoo on his face. That information had not been disclosed to Andino’s defense attorney by the police.

The petition noted that the trial defense lawyers, Richard Bueke and Randy Rueckert, had failed to interview Javier Estrada, who was in the laundromat at the time of the crime. Had they done so, the petition said, they would have learned that Estrada would have testified that Andino was not the gunman.

The petition also said that Bueke and Rueckert failed to disclose that at the time of the trial, they also represented Guevara in unrelated civil matters, including a child support proceeding. Andino, the petition said, is “unquestionably innocent of the murder for which he was convicted, but even if he was not, [Andino] would be entitled to a new trial [because] he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to conflict-free counsel.”

The petition noted that the prosecution had previously dismissed the case of Jose Maysonet after discovering that Bueke represented Maysonet at the same time he was representing Guevara. At that time, Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Shlifka reported that the relationship between Bueke and Guevara “has spanned, apparently, almost 15 years.”

The petition also noted that during a federal investigation of a corrupt police officer, Joseph Miedzianowski, a witness claimed that in two murder cases, Bueke had paid Guevara $20,000, and the cases were dropped.

In addition, Katherine gave a statement to the lawyers saying that Guevara and Halvorsen showed her a photograph of Andino prior to the lineup and told her to pick him because he was the gunman. She acquiesced and did so even though Andino did not have a teardrop tattoo. Christopher gave a statement saying he identified Andino despite seeing that he had no such facial tattoo.

The petition cited the growing list of murder convictions that had been overturned due to misconduct by Guevara and Halvorsen, as well as numerous other cases involving misconduct by the detectives. Both detectives were no longer on the police force, having retired years earlier.

Others who had been exonerated by that time included: Thomas Sierra, Ariel Gomez, Ricardo Rodriguez, Robert Bouto, Geraldo Iglesias, Demetrius Johnson, Reynaldo Munoz, and Daniel Rodriguez

While Andino’s petition was pending, more convictions based on Guevara misconduct were being dismissed. On July 12, 2022, the prosecution agreed to vacate and dismiss the murder conviction of Jose Cruz, who claimed he had been wrongly convicted of murder based on misconduct by Guevara. On July 21, 2022, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office abruptly asked that the convictions of four other men be dismissed: Eruby Abrego, Jeremiah Cain, and brothers Juan and Rosendo Hernandez.

On August 9, 2022, the Cook County State’s attorney’s office agreed to vacate seven more convictions, including Andino’s. He was released after serving more than 25 years since the date of his conviction.

In August 2023, Andino was awarded a certificate of innocence, clearing the way for him to seek compensation from the state of Illinois. In September 2023, Andino filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Guevara and other police officers seeking compensation for his wrongful conviction. In November 2023, Andino was awarded $268,960 in state compensation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 8/23/2022
Last Updated: 12/12/2023
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Attempt, Violent
Reported Crime Date:1994
Convicted:1996
Exonerated:2022
Sentence:60 years
Race/Ethnicity:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:21
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct, Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No