City Offers $6M to Man Wrongfully Convicted for 1981 Rape

Audit of city's crime lab didn't comply with standards; later DNA testing exonerated Larry Gillard

Chicago aldermen on Wednesday approved a $6.3 million settlement to a man wrongfully convicted of a May 1981 rape.

Larry Gillard was convicted of the rape after the victim identified him in a lineup.

At the time, the Chicago Police Department's crime lab said there was a genetic match with the semen recovered. A jury took less than an hour to convict him and he was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

A later audit of the city crime lab found it did not comply with standards, and it was shut down and its work was turned over to the State Police.

In 2009, a new DNA test proved Gillard could not have committed the crime and he was granted a certificate of innocence.

Attorney Jon Loevy, of Loevy & Loevy, offered few details of Gillard's life now but said his client was aware of the settlement.

"Nothing is going to give him back the years that he lost, he’s doing his best to live his life. But he is appreciative that the city has at least made this effort to right the injustice," Loevy said. "When you’re wrongfully convicted, obviously it interferes with your ability to build a career and make relationships with people. It really breaks your life, but he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances."

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