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Chicago native Tyrone Hood is looking for justice after he was wrongfully accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

An extensive investigation by The New Yorker, details Hood’s 1995 conviction where he was tried and convicted for the murder of Marshall Morgan Jr., a rising basketball star at the Illinois Institute For Technology. The 20-year-old was found dead in his car with several gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach. The crime was committed several blocks near Hood’s neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. Police eventually linked Hood to the crime.

“Judge Bolan sentenced Hood to seventy-five years. Before leaving the court, Hood submitted a statement, which public defender Jim Mullenix (his lawyer) read aloud. “Life is too precious to take away and not give back,” Hood wrote. “An innocent man’s life or freedom” was “about to be taken away.” The statement continued, “I pray that the truth will come out. In the Bible in Luke, chapter eight, verses seventeen to eighteen, it says, ‘Whatever is covered up will be uncovered, and whatever is hidden will be found, therefore, consider carefully how you listen.’ I say to myself, ‘Tony, they will find out that I’m an innocent man, just have patience for the Lord to help you.’ ”

Mullenix continued to work on the case and later found out that key witnesses Wayne Washington and Jody Rogers had recanted their statements.

“A lot of times, witnesses don’t know what they’ve told the police,” he explained. “When you meet the witness on the street and don’t drag them to the police station, oftentimes they will say something completely different from what’s in the police report.”

Joe West, Hood’s co-defendant also took back his statements and revealed to Mullenix that detectives Kenneth Boudreau and his partner, John Halloran, coerced him and the others into planting the murder on Hood with physical abuse and threats of jail time.

At the station, he recalled, detectives had grilled him about his fingerprints on the beer cans and accused him of killing “the next Michael Jordan.” One officer, West said, had pointed a pistol at him. The only way to be released, he felt, was to pin Morgan’s murder on someone else.

Over the next 10 years, Hood worked with Barbara Santek to clear his name. Santek believes the real killer was Morgan Jr.’s estranged father, Marshall Morgan Sr., who took out a life insurance policy after reconnecting with his son in 1995. Marshall was Sr. was also connected to his girlfriend Michelle Soto’s murder with the similar life insurance plot.

Attorneys for Hood said the real killer grabbed random trash from the area around Corliss High School, and dumped it in the car where the body was found to throw police off the trail. Defense attorneys said there was other trash from complete strangers in the car, and a fingerprint from another man on a beer can.Like Hood, those people all had one thing in common: they all lived near Corliss High School, where Morgan Sr. was a janitor.

Marshall Sr. is currently serving time for killing another girlfriend in 2001.

Hood’s case entered the final stages in 2013. While he continues to serve time for a crime he’s never confessed to, he’s trying to remain optimistic about his future.

 “I see people getting out of the penitentiary, right?” he said. “Exonerated. I read about how they were arrested, how they were exonerated. And I’m, like, ‘Wait a minute—what is going on? You got all this evidence pointing to somebody else? You got nothing pointing at me but some prints…Do I have something written on my forehead saying, ‘Y’all can just do something to me’?” he pleaded. “What’s wrong with me?”

Check out The New Yorker’s full story on Hood here.

SOURCE: The New Yorker | PHOTO CREDIT: Handout 

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