Tags: jose montanez | armando serrano | freed | prison | detective guevara

Jose Montanez, Armando Serrano Freed From Prison Years After Framing

Image: Jose Montanez, Armando Serrano Freed From Prison Years After Framing
Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano. (Illinois Department of Corrections)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Jul 2016 09:21 AM

Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano were freed from prison on Wednesday, 23 years after they were framed for a Chicago murder.

Their release came after an appeals court ruled last week that their 1993 conviction was the result of "profoundly alarming acts of misconduct," dismissed the charges against them, and ordered their immediate release, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"I knew I was innocent so that made me hopeful that someday I would get justice, and fortunately that day is today," Serrano said, according to the newspaper.

Montanez, 49, and Serrano, 44, were accused of fatally shooting Rodrigo Vargas who was on his way to work. They were convicted on the testimony of Francisco Vicente, a heroin addict facing four felony charges. Vicente recanted his testimony in 2004, telling students from Northwestern University's Medill Justice Project that former Detective Reynaldo Guevara fed him a false story.

"The experience I do not wish upon nobody, because it was devastating," Montanez’s aunt Carmen said, according to CBS Chicago. "It was sad. It was … I had no joy out of life. Twenty-three years without him has been devastating."

The men, who were sentenced to 55 years in prison, have maintained their innocence, The Associated Press reported. Serrano was released from the Dixon Correctional Center in northern Illinois, and Montanez was released from Danville Correctional Center in central Illinois.

Guevara retired in 2005, and "Chicago has paid more than $20 million to review, litigate, and settle Guevara-related misconduct cases," NBC Chicago reported.

“This was no mistake; Detective Guevara framed these innocent men. We give credit to [Cook County State's Attorney] Anita Alvarez for recognizing this injustice and setting Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano free,” Russell Ainsworth, Montanez’s attorney, said in a statement. “Sadly, dozens more innocent Guevara victims remain incarcerated for crimes they didn't commit. We will not rest until every single one of them is exonerated.”

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Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano were freed from prison on Wednesday, 23 years after they were framed for a Chicago murder.
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2016-21-21
Thursday, 21 Jul 2016 09:21 AM
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