After 26 Long Years, An Innocent Man Is Freed

Published April 21, 2008

Posted April 21, 2008 – Alton Logan, 56, was a young man when he was sent to prison for a murder he never committed.

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On Friday, following the death of the real killer, Logan was released from the Cook County Jail after more than a quarter-century behind bars.

"Nobody deserves to be locked away for 26 years for something they didn't do," said Alton ’s brother, Eugene Logan, 48, of Portland , Oregon . "It's a blessing today that my brother's been released. He's not been exonerated yet, but we're going back to court, and it will happen"

It took the misfortune – or good fortune, depending on whose eyes you see it through – of another inmate’s death before the truth came out.

Two attorneys knew all along that it was their client, Andrew Wilson, who had killed security guard Lloyd Wickliffe at a McDonald’s fast-food joint in 1982. But attorney-client privilege had barred them from revealing it.  When Wilson died, they were no longer bound by the credo.

"Poor Mr. Logan was locked up all these years for something he didn't do, and that's unfortunate that it worked out the way it did," said Dale Coventry, one of Wilson’s attorneys. "I wish [the release] had happened a lot sooner, but unfortunately, there was no way to do anything."

After signing an affidavit acknowledging that his former client was the guilty party, he said he hopes the prosecutors will recognize that they pursued a wrong course in the trial, he said. It’s now up to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to decide whether to decide whether she will retry Logan.

"We will carefully review all the evidence in the case and then decide the appropriate next step," her spokeswoman said.

Speaking to the Associated Press as he waited for Logan outside the jail was Logan's uncle, Arthur Gordon, 70, of Milwaukee , Wis., said, "I knew he didn't do that because I had been talking to him over the years," Gordon said. "He kept his spirit. He said, 'Uncle, I have to stay up. I can't go down. I can't go down."'

Logan's family took him for a steak and lobster dinner on his first night of freedom, AP reported. "I'm going to turn him on to life," Eugene Logan said. "That's what we're going to do. We're going to live it together."

In instances like this, do you think lawyers should be made to keep quiet about their client’s guilt?  Click “Discuss Now,” on the upper right, to post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff

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