Judge Sets Aside Convictions of 4 Men in 1995 Murders

Four Chicago men had their murder convictions set aside by a judge seven years after fingerprint evidence implicated another suspect and raised questions about the case. 

The group had been charged in the 1995 double murder and armed robbery of Yousef Ali and Khalid Ibrahim. 

Charles Johnson and Larod Styles were sentenced to life in prison. Lawshawn Ezell, who was convicted of armed robbery, completed his 20-year prison sentence. Troshawn McCoy, who has nearly finished serving his 55-year prison sentence, remained behind bars awaiting a hearing on his petition for a new trial.

The group became known as "the Marquette four." 

Prosecutors in July dropped the charges against Johnson and Styles after defense attorneys presented what they argued was new evidence in the case. The killers had allegedly ripped a window sticker from one of the cars, and a fingerprint found on that sticker matched a convicted drug dealer who lived just a block from where the car was abandoned near 78th and Ingleside.

Both men were freed on bail, but prosecutors had said they planned to retry the pair.

On Wednesday, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx dismissed all charges against all four men and also decided not to retry them. Judge Domenica Stephenson on Wednesday vacated their convictions. 

"It's just an army of people who just helped us along this road for us to be right here," Styles said Wednesday. 

In a written statement, Foxx said "following an extensive re-examination of all the evidence in these cases, including a review of new fingerprint evidence, we have reached the conclusion that we would not be able to sustain our burden of proof if these cases were retried." 

"I just want to thank God for being in our corner," Ezell said. "I just want to thank the lawyers."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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