Cook County

Murder Charges Dropped Against Man Framed For 1991 Chicago Killing

Demetrius Johnson was charged with a drive-by attack at 15 and denied involvement in the killing

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Cook County prosecutors dropped murder charges on Friday against a man who was framed as a teenager for a killing he didn't commit in 1991.

Demetrius Johnson was 15 when he was charged in the killing of Edwin Fred in a drive-by attack. Johnson, who denied involvement in the killing, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was paroled in 2004.

In November, Johnson’s attorneys and Cook County prosecutors agreed on tossing his conviction due to misconduct by now-retired Chicago Police Department Detective Reynaldo Guevara. At the time, prosecutors weren’t willing to drop murder charges against Johnson.

A police report uncovered last year indicated a witness pointed out a man arrested near the incident with a loaded gun was involved in the shooting.

Johnson said he wasn't exactly sure how to feel when the charges against him were dropped.

"It was a long road," he said. "I went through a lot. It's very painful. I feel like I was dragged by the devil."

Johnson's son, Demetrius Johnson Jr., was just one of several people who stood behind his father.

"I feel awesome, because I believed for my whole life that my dad was guilty of this crime," Demetrius Johnson, Jr. said. "...And the whole time he was innocent, and it messed up my life."

In total, 20 murder convictions have been overturned because of allegations of torture, planting evidence or forced confessions in cases headed by Detective Guevara.

NBC Chicago and Associated Press
Contact Us