Innocent Man Free After 26 Years in Prison

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Innocent Man Free After 26 Years in Prison

**Alton Logan Left Prison After an Attorney Finally Broke His Silence **

By JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG

April 19, 2008—

Alton Logan became a free man Friday after an attorney, who knew all along that someone else gunned down a guard on the south side of Chicago, finally broke his silence after 26 years.

Logan has now spent half his life in prison for killing a security guard at a Chicago McDonald’s, a crime he has always said he did not commit.
“I never gave up hope because I knew this was something that I didn’t do,” Logan said.

A month after Logan was arrested, Dale Coventry, a Chicago public defender, stumbled on the real killer, Andrew Wilson, who was one of his clients. Coventry confronted Wilson.

“We were told that you were the shooter at the McDonald’s,” Coventry recalled of his conversation with Wilson at the time. “‘Was that true?’ He said, ‘Uh huh.’ I said, ‘With a shotgun? You killed him with the shotgun?’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’”

Under the rules of attorney-client privilege, Coventry had to keep Wilson’s confession secret.

. . . . .

Tormented by his secret, Coventry wanted to do something. He wrote an affidavit that Wilson was the killer, had it notarized and locked it in a box.
When Wilson died late last year, Coventry unlocked the box and shared his secret.

“All this time they knew, but they can say nothing,” Logan said. “What they don’t realize is this … giving an individual the death penalty is giving them a fast death. Giving an individual life is giving them a slow death, a lingering death.”

During half of his life spent in Stateville prison, both his mother and his grandmother, who raised him, died. “They are lost … gone. You can’t get them back,” Logan said, reflecting on what he had missed.

This is very sad. I read another article in which it was clear he is free of bitterness, which is a real blessing. I think that bitterness could eat up much of the pleasure of freedom.

Poor guy… 26 years taken from him and he gets nothing but the same freedom that we take for granted.

Another example of why the death penalty should be used in only the most extreme, Extreme, EXTREME circumstances, and then only in cases where there is absolute proof of the accused’s guilt.

Another example of how fragile and imperfect human justice really is.

Another reason our adversarial system of justice falls far short of perfection.

Another reason NOT to trust any government.

And I say all this fully believing that American justice is the best system currently in use.

If I were that lawyer, I would sacrifice my career and “client” before I would allow an innocent man to spend 26 years in prison. Does anyone else feel this way?

I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said something along these lines, “Better a hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished.”

I’m not sure I support the death penalty. All too often it’s an innocent who gets it. Even in the case of Timothy, oh Lord, I can’t remember his last name!! He was the one who blew up that building in Oklahoma city. He said that what he feared was not the death penalty but life in prison. So, he should have gotten that.

I hope that the lawyer involved regularly tried to persuade the real culprit to turn himself in. Honestly, I don’t know how I could sleep at night knowing that an innocent man was in prison, perhaps for life, and I was in a position to correct that injustice…and hadn’t.

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