State’s Attorney Alvarez Announces Acquittal of Chicago Men from Felony Charges Following Conviction Integrity Review
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the dismissal of felony charges against two Chicago men who were wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and murder following the intensive re-investigation of the two separate cases, led by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit.
On the one hand, Latherial Boyd, 47, was previously convicted for the murder in 1990, after fatally shooting a person and injuring another individual in the process. On the other hand, Carl Chatman, 58, was earlier convicted of sexual assault in 2004. The careful and intensive re-investigation of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit has revealed the wrongful conviction of the aforementioned men, to which the State’s Attorney’s Office responded by announcing their acquittal and release today, after serving years in prison.
“Justice was certainly delayed. But we are hopeful, with today’s action, that it will not be denied,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said.
In the early morning hours of February 24, 1990, a shooting incident occurred near 3505 North Clark Street in Chicago. A single gunman was reported to have approached the two victims, Michael Fleming and Ricky Warner, who were said to have been selling drugs on the street. Witnesses said that the gunman had fired several shots that led to the death of Fleming, and the paralysis of Warner, as a result of the bullet striking him in the neck. Three other pedestrians were shot but did not sustain significant injuries.
The prior investigation led to the prosecution of Boyd, and later on, his conviction for the First-Degree Murder of Fleming, and Attempted First-Degree Murder of Warner on October 24, 1990. Boyd was sentenced to a total of 82 years in prison, where he has remained for the past 22 years.
Today, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez declares him a free man, after his conviction was found erroneous. Boyd’s case was dismissed based upon several factors, including the evidence that Boyd had voluntarily gone to the police after learning he was a suspect and participating in a line-up for nine eyewitnesses to identify the suspect. Furthermore, Boyd was not identified as the shooter by any of the nine eyewitnesses, except for the second shooting victim who claimed to identify Boyd positively; however, his statement was found inconclusive as he provided inconsistent statements regarding his ability to see and identify the shooter during police questioning and testimony in the trial. This substantial evidence was said to have not been introduced or raised in Boyd’s defense during the trial, which may have determined his conviction.
Carl Chatman, who is to be released with Boyd today, was previously charged with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault for the alleged attack on an employee of the Richard J. Daley Center of Cook County. The incident was reported to have occurred on the morning of May 24, 2002, in a courtroom office. Chatman was convicted two years later on March 4, 2004, and was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison, where he has remained for the past nine years.
The conviction of Chatman was dismissed based upon the established evidence that a potential witness had not been taken into account during the prosecution of the case. The testimony of the Cook County Deputy Sheriff revealed that he arrived at work prior to the incident and was reported to have been sleeping in a room around the scene of the crime during the time the alleged attack occurred. The Deputy Sheriff’s said that he heard no noise, which disproved the complaining witness’ testimony of having screamed for help and fighting loudly during the attack. This potential witness was revealed to have never been interviewed nor introduced into the criminal investigation of Chatman’s trial.
Both Boyd and Chatman were said to have been filing appeals and post-conviction petitions throughout the years they served in prison; however, they were ultimately denied by the courts. Their cases bring to five the total number of convictions that the Conviction Integrity Unit of Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has dismissed since its launch. Other murder indictments that were overturned as a result of the re-investigation of The Conviction Integrity Unit include the cases of James Kluppelberg, Daniel Taylor, and Alprentiss Nash.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez assured, “We remain committed to proactively re-investigating cases that involve wrongful or questionable convictions such as those that were delivered in the cases against Mr. Boyd and Mr. Chatman. Above all else, our work as prosecutors is about seeking justice, even if that measure of justice means that we must acknowledge failures of the past.”
Updated: August 6, 2020