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A mass dismissal of murder convictions: In one day, Chicago judges overturn 7 murder cases overseen by reportedly corrupt cop

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Prosecutors and judges at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago had a busy day on Tuesday. Seven murder convictions were overturned in a single day, the first case of mass murder dismissal in U.S. history.

The reason that prosecutors and judges were able to process so many requests for dismissal in so short a time is because the convicted in each case all had one thing in common: Former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara was once in charge of the cases made against them.

Chicago district attorney Kim Foxx has admitted that her office "can no longer stand by these convictions" because of all of the accusations of police misconduct leveled at Guevara.

"Even in cases where we still have questions about guilt, where we are not affirming actual innocence, the taint of Detective Guevara is such that we cannot stand behind them any further," Foxx said.

As a result, six men and one woman who had previously been convicted of murder sometime between 1989 and 1996 and who had already served a combined total of 174 years in prison had their convictions overturned.

Marilyn Mulero, the lone woman among the exonerees, served 28 years in prison, five of them on death row, for the murder of Hector Reyes and Jimmy Cruz in 1992. She told reporters that she continued to fight for her innocence because of her two young children and because of others, like her, who languished in prison for crimes they say they didn't commit.

"There’s other women out there that are incarcerated, that are innocent, that I will keep fighting for, just like our other Guevara victims that are in there,” Mulero said.

Jaime Rios, the last person to have his sentence overturned on Tuesday, was convicted of shooting Luis Morales in 1989. Rios alleges that Guevara and others in law enforcement used violence, threats of violence, and psychological torment to convince Rios to give a false statement of self-incrimination.

Though Rios insisted that he was out of state on the day of the murder, he said Guevara promised him that if he claimed to be at the scene of the crime, he wouldn't lose custody of his son.

Rios was convicted and spent 18 years in prison.

In addition to Rios and Mulero, Carlos Andino, Alfredo Gonzalez, Nelson Gonzalez, Johnny Flores, and David Colon, aka David Lugo, all had their convictions overturned on Tuesday. A judge denied a request to dismiss the conviction of an eighth inmate, Louis Robinson, who "remains in custody pending further court proceedings," according to Foxx.

At least 70 inmates have claimed that Guevara engaged in police misconduct during his investigations against them. Thus far, 31 of their convictions have been overturned. Four more, including Robinson, will have their cases reassessed in the next few weeks.

As of now, Guevara has not been charged with any crime.

"Our first priority was ensuring that we could stand by these convictions. The next step of that: We’re going to review these cases, and also review the possibility for charges where appropriate," Foxx said.

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