Xavier Catron was wrongfully convicted based on perjury allegedly induced by police
Xavier Catron was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison in 1993 for of the murder of 16-year-old Kendrick Thomas on the south side of Chicago the previous year.
The conviction was based on the testimony of three eyewitnesses who later swore under oath that they had been coerced by Chicago police to falsely identify Catron, then 24.
The witnesses recanted to Rick Strasser, a WGN-TV journalist, who began looking into the case when he received a letter from Catron saying he had been wrongfully convicted. Strasser's interest in the case intensified after the father of the victim said he believed Catron to be innocent.
Based on the sworn recantations, Catron sought a new trial, but was rebuffed out of hand by the Cook County Circuit Court. After the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in another case that recantations should not automatically be discounted, however, Catron returned to court. This time he prevailed, winning a new trial, and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office dropped the charges in 2000.