Cook County Judge to decide fate of 4 Englewood men that new DNA evidence proves were wrongly convicted of a 1994 murder and rape


Three men who were recently exonerated under nearly identical circumstances in Dixmoor will be in court to show their support


Cook County Judge Paul Biebel today will issue a decision in the case of four men who have filed motions to vacate their convictions of the 1994 murder of Nina Glover in the Englewood neighborhood. The DNA that was recovered from Glover’s body was recently put through the CODIS database and hit Johnny Douglas.  Douglas, then 32, was present on November 7, 1994 at 7 AM when Glover’s naked body was recovered from the dumpster.  Douglas was later convicted of a very similar 1997 strangulation murder of sex worker Gytonne Marsh. His DNA also matched the semen recovered from the strangulation-murder of sex worker Elaine Martin but he was found not guilty of that crime.   During Martin’s murder trial, the State’s Attorney’s Office sought to introduce evidence that Douglas was responsible for at least five other violent physical assaults of sex workers between March 1993 and September 1997.

Judge Biebel will issue his decision, Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at 2 p.m. CST, in Court Room 101,Circuit Court of Cook County, 2600 South California Avenue, Room 101, Chicago, IL

Wrongfully convicted:  Michael Saunders and Harold Richardson, who are in state prison; Terrill Swift, who has been released from prison but is currently on parole.  Vincent Thames, who has completed his sentence but has been forced to live by strict conditions as a registered sex offender. 

Recently Exonerated: Robert Taylor and brothers James Harden and Jonathan Barr who were exonerated on November 3, 2011 of the 1991 murder and rape of Cateresa Matthews in Dixmoor, Illinois. 

Attorneys:  Peter Neufeld, Co-Director and Craig Cooley, Staff Attorney, of the Innocence Project;  Tara Thompson of the Exoneration Project of the University of Chicago Law School; Josh Tepfer and Steven Drizin of the Center on Wrongful Convictions; Stuart Chanen and Hank Turner of the Valorem Law Group. 

Several months after Glover’s murder, the four teenagers and another teen, Jerry Fincher, were arrested for the murder of Glover and interrogated without the presence of a parent or guardian.  All five were ultimately coerced into confessing to the crime, each giving very different accounts of the crime.  The Judge in Fincher’s case ruled that his confession was inadmissible, and his case was dismissed.  The other four were convicted despite the fact that pre-trial DNA testing from the victim matched an unknown male and not the four teens.

In 25% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made incriminating statements, delivered false confessions or pled guilty. Confessions by juveniles have proven to be especially unreliable.  While these teens grew up behind bars serving adult criminal sentences, the real perpetrator, went on to commit at least one other murder and numerous violent assaults against sex workers.