It was a brutally fast fire that swept up the back porch of a Brighton Park two flat in March of 1993 that killed two older residents.
Hours after the fire, police interrogated then 14-year-old Adam Gray, winning a false confession from him with the promise he could go back to his eighth-grade class and his family.
"They made it clear to me--in no uncertain terms--that it was only going to get worse for me if I didn’t start changing my answers," Gray said Thursday.
Now 25 years later, after gaining his freedom, and a certificate of innocence, Gray is filing a civil suit against the city of Chicago and the police department that cost him decades of his life.
"I don’t think I had much hope … I wasn’t in custody thinking justice was going to come any day," Gray said. "I didn’t understand this amount of hatred toward me from the cops, why they were lying, why everybody was lying."
Attorney Jon Loevy says the phenomenon of false confessions is real and all too common in Chicago.
"People don’t understand the psychology of having your will overborne," he said. "It's obvious when you are 14 years old--or essentially 13--it’s a much different ballgame when you are an adult. If nothing else comes out of this, it can educate people that false confessions happen."
A confession and conviction that have taken its toll on Gray and his family.
"Its been a change for all of us," Michael Gray, Adam's brother, said. "For our adaptation and Adam’s adaptation, its been challenging."
Adam Gray is seeking monetary damages against the city and hopes other cops will learn from this experience.
"(I'm) trying to send a message down the line: if you are a dirty cop, these things are going to catch up to you, that’s the whole point of this," he said.
The city of Chicago said it had not yet seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.