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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Chicago to pay man who spent 24 years in prison for fatal fire he didn't commit $27 million

CHICAGO — A man from Chicago has been awarded $27 million in a civil suit against the city after he spent 24 years in prison for a deadly fire he didn’t set.

Now in his forties, Gray filed a lawsuit in 2018 claiming the Chicago Police Department framed him into confessing to a fatal fire in 1993.

“These dirty cops need to be stopped,” Gray said. “It’s out of control. Break down the wall of silence.”

In March 1993, Gray was 14 years old. The then-teen, who lived in Brighton Park, was arrested by CPD in connection to a fire at a two-flat building that killed two elderly residents.

Gray’s attorney said there was no physical evidence linking Gray to the fire, which turned out to be classified as accidental, not arson. A federal jury ruled police officers forced Gray into confessing to the fire.

“Gradually over time, they broke down a 14-year-old kid, which when you think it, isn’t hard to do,” Jon Loevy, with Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, said. “They used adult tactics on a 14-year-old child and they coerced a confession to a crime he didn’t commit.”

In 2017, after spending 24 years in jail, Gray was released from prison after a judge found his conviction was based on junk science and an accidental fire.

“They built a case saying Adam did it when he didn’t and it took 24 years for the system to sort that out, for Adam to get attorneys to prove his innocence,” Loevy said. “He has since moved on with his life. He is married, lives in the woods and he is trying to build a life. But they took a lot from him and this trial was his opportunity for justice.”

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