In 1989, twenty-four-year-old Eric Caine was convicted of stabbing an elderly couple to death on the south side of Chicago. Caine lost twenty five years of his life imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, languishing in prison for nearly a decade after his co-defendant was fully exonerated for the same crime. The only evidence introduced against Caine at trial was his coerced false confession and the coerced false confession of his co-defendant, Aaron Patterson. In fact the physical evidence that did exist exculpated Caine and Patterson.
Under the direction of the notorious Chicago Police Lieutenant Jon Burge, the investigating detectives beat and suffocated Aaron Patterson until he told his torturers that he would say “anything you say.” Under similar treatment, Caine signed a false confession. What the detectives did not know at the time was that during Patterson’s interrogation, Patterson scratched into a bench in the interview room that he was tortured and his statement to the police was false. No other evidence other than his own confession and that of Patterson was ever introduced against Caine.
Twenty five years after his wrongful conviction, all charges against Caine were dismissed and he was released from prison–the same day that Lieutenant Burge entered prison after being found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the routine torture of African American criminal suspects.