Attorneys seeking innocence certificates for 'Englewood 4'

January 18, 2012

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(WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)
Terrill Swift leaving court Tuesday

Attorneys will be seeking certificates of innocence for four men who spent 15 years in prison for raping and murdering a prostitute in 1994. As teens, the four men confessed to the crime but new DNA evidence points to someone else.

Their convictions were thrown out last year and prosecutors announced on Tuesday they would not retry the case. Attorneys for the four men say they'll now ask the court for certificates of innocence, which will make them eligible for compensation from the state for wrongful imprisonment. It will also clear their records and make it easier to get jobs, though one of the men, Terrill Swift, has already found work.

"I work at Discount Tire. Rotate and balance tires, sell tires, flat repairs, anything to do with a tire, we do it at Discount Tire. So if you need tires, go to Discount Tires. 785 East Boughton in Bollingbrook, Illinois. We need your business," Swift said Tuesday.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez could support or fight the petitions for innocence. She is refusing to comment on the case, but a written statement from the office on Tuesday said nothing about innocence. It stated simply that the office is not retrying the case because prosecutors don't believe they can prove the charges in court.