Murder Charges Filed In 1991 Death | WBEZ
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Murder Charges Filed In Chicago-area Girl's 1991 Death

MARKHAM, Ill. (AP) — A 58-year-old man is being charged for the 1991 murder and kidnapping of a 14-year-old suburban Chicago girl.

More than two years ago, five men reached a $40 million settlement with Illinois State Police after they were cleared of all charges in the death of Dixmoor teenager Cateresa Matthews. The men, known as the "Dixmoor Five," spent a decade or more in prison before DNA evidence pointed to Willie Randolph, not them, in Cateresa's killing.

The Cook County State's Attorney's office says Randolph appeared in bond court Thursday afternoon on charges of murder, kidnapping and predatory criminal sexual assault. He was ordered held without bail.

Randolph is already serving a three-year sentence for drug possession in an Illinois state prison. He is a registered sex offender.

The investigation into Cateresa's killing started anew in 2014, following DNA testing in 2011 that failed to link any of the five imprisoned men to the crime, but instead pointed to Randolph. Dixmoor police asked the Cook County sheriff for help, and Cook County prosecutors' cold case unit also assisted.

Cateresa disappeared in November 1991. Three weeks later, her body was found in a field near Interstate 57. She had been raped and had a single gunshot wound in her mouth.

Her mother, Theresa Matthews, said learning that the five men weren't responsible for her daughter's death "was really stressful."

Robert Taylor, James Harden and Jonathan Barr were freed in 2011 after 19 years in prison, while Shainne Sharp and Robert Veal were released after 10 years behind bars.
Matthews said she will attend all court hearings going forward.

"I'm Cateresa's voice," she said. "I have to speak for her. I want justice for her. It's up to me to speak for my baby."

In a statement, Cook County’s top prosecutor, Anita Alvarez, said she has implemented many important reforms to ensure that no person is wrongfully convicted.

“First and foremost I want to offer my sympathies to Ms. Matthews who has endured an exceptionally difficult and painful journey towards justice in the vicious murder of her beautiful young daughter, Cateresa,” Alvarez said.

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