Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Cleared by DNA after 26 years
Ex-inmate wins battle to prove his innocence in '81 Chicago rape

Sunday, April 22, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Maurice Possley

Zeroing in on a suspect

Miller became a suspect because, days before the crime, Chicago Police Officer Kenneth Fligelman had stopped him in the 500 block of West Armitage Avenue for allegedly "looking" into parked cars, according to court records. Miller was not arrested at the time.

When the composite sketch was circulated in the Police Department, Fligelman believed it looked like Miller and brought him in for a lineup, where the two attendants identified him as the attacker.

At the time, Miller had never been convicted of a crime and he was working as a cook after completing a 31/2-year hitch in the Army.

Now retired, Fligelman said in an interview, "He matched the composite. My partner and I, when we saw the composite at roll call, we remembered him."

At trial, the attendants identified Miller. The victim said she thought Miller looked like her attacker, even though the attacker was described as having a few days' growth of facial hair and Miller had a full goatee.

Miller testified that he was not involved and at the time of the crime was home watching a championship boxing match between Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.

'I was devastated'

The jury found him guilty of rape, robbery, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery. Judge Thomas Maloney sentenced him to 45 years in prison.

"I was devastated," Miller recalled. "And the judge -- he told me the evidence was overwhelming. I was very depressed."

Shortly after arriving at Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, Miller decided that he had to find a way to "improve myself. I went to school. At first, I got my GED. Then I took vocational classes in small engine repair and I got a job as a mechanic on the [prison] grounds crew ... repairing lawn mowers and tractors."

At the same time, he battled loneliness, as many of his family members and friends did not come to visit him in prison.

"They had me so guilty," Miller said. "I asked, 'Why me?' You lose hope every day; you have to find a way to gain hope every day. I had found God as a boy. Now I found God in my cell. You open your eyes and you can see there's something here that's more than just me."

At the urging of his mother, Miller began to read everything he could get his hands on.

"Mostly, though, it was spiritual books and philosophy," he said. "I missed joy. I missed happiness. It was very painful, being locked up every night. But I decided I didn't want the pain, the disappointment, the hurt. I just didn't want it no more."

'Life is to be lived'

Miller said he became a better man.

"I matured. I came to understand life is to be lived no matter where you are," he said. He credits his faith in God with helping him cope in prison, along with a desire to educate himself and "make something of myself. This [exoneration] is the hand of God."

Miller said he wrote hundreds of letters to lawyers and others seeking help. His letter to the Innocence Project, affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, ultimately triggered the DNA testing.

Mark Ertler, deputy supervisor of the Cook County state's attorney's office DNA Review Unit, said the Innocence Project reached out last year on behalf of Miller. Ertler located the evidence in the case, including the victim's half slip, which contained the attacker's DNA.

"This case is a good example of what the DNA unit was intended to do," Ertler said. He said that although the victim has declined to speak publicly, "It was never her intention to have someone who is innocent be prosecuted."

After Miller was excluded by the DNA tests, the unknown DNA profile was submitted to the FBI's convicted offender database and a match was found, Wolf said. Prosecutors have not identified the suspect whose DNA was a match. But because the database was formed well after the 1981 crime, the presence of the real attacker means he not only escaped prosecution for the 1981 crime, but he committed at least one other crime later.

Help from relatives, friends

Miller's cousin, Karen Hicks, owner of Yes We Can transportation service, which transports disabled people and others to medical appointments and therapy, said she took Miller into her home after he was released. She said Miller "teaches me patience and to pay attention to people. And I am going to be there all the way for him."

Meanwhile, Miller has relearned how to drive a car, use an ATM, operate a gas pump, and, for the first time, learned to use a cell phone.

"I've got emotional stuff to deal with -- how to deal with women," he said. "I've had a lot of emotions locked up and I've got friends who are helping me."

Fligelman, told that Miller was exonerated, said, "I have always wondered how people can pick someone out of a lineup when things happen so fast. It's unfortunate he had to spend that kind of time in jail if he didn't do it. ... That kind of thing churns my stomach. ... Who knows how many other cases like this might be out there?"



Recent Headlines

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicagoís only lynching victim gets memorial
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Grio

County harassment survey shows mixed faith in reporting system
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jailís Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019
WTTW News

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP