A homeless man serving time in Dixon Correctional Center for raping a clerk at the Daley Center and a man convicted of a fatal shooting in Wrigleyville were ordered released immediately after prosecutors dropped charges against both men.
Judge Paul Biebel ordered the release of Carl Chatman and Lathierial Boyd during a brief hearing Tuesday morning.
Chatman, 58, had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the purported May 2002 assault after Chicago police said the alleged victim identified Chatman and that he confessed. Chatman, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has a low IQ, was released Tuesday from the Dixon prison.
The alleged sexual assault is one of two cases in which the woman claimed to be a victim and later sued for monetary damages.
The assertion that she had fabricated the Daley Center rape was central to the appeals by Chatman’s attorney, Russell Ainsworth, who argued that the rape claim was prompted by thousands of dollars in casino losses and an Internal Revenue Service notice of an audit just weeks before the supposed attack.
“There was no rape. This never happened,” Ainsworth said. “This was fabricated by a vindictive woman who did this for monetary gain.”
Standing outside a courtroom shortly after her brother’s release was ordered, Theresa Chatman, 53, began singing, “We’re going to get my brother.”
“Wow, this is a joyous day for us,” she told reporters. “I think justice has been served ... we are overjoyed.”
She and two siblings and their attorney picked up her brother Tuesday in Dixon.
Boyd was ordered released after having been convicted for a 1990 shooting that killed one man and seriously wounded another outside a bar in Wrigleyville. He was sentenced to 82 years in prison.
Boyd’s lawyers had argued that the conviction rested primarily on the testimony of the wounded man, Ricky Warner. They contended Warner initially told police he did not know who shot him, but during the trial Warner testified that Boyd has shot him and the other man over a drug debt.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, told reporters the decision to vacate the convictions followed investigations by the office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which was launched in an effort to root out wrongful convictions.
In Chatman’s case, a recently disclosed sheriff’s office report of an internal investigation cast doubt on whether there had been an assault.
The report, which prosecutors did not have at trial, disclosed that a sheriff’s deputy was sleeping in the courtroom next to where the rape allegedly occurred and did not wake despite the woman’s claim she fought loudly with Chatman and screamed for help.
Prosecutors, according to sources, came to doubt the woman’s claim that she had been sexually assaulted.
Cook County prosecutors, according to sources, also investigated the woman’s claim that she was raped in October 1979 at an office building at 625 N. Michigan Ave., where she worked.
Chatman was arrested May 24, 2002, just after the woman said she was raped on the 21st floor of the Daley Center.
No physical evidence tied Chatman to the crime. Although the woman said she bit Chatman’s Chicago Blackhawks jacket, no DNA was recovered. Foreign hairs on him did not belong to her, Ainsworth said, and Chatman’s DNA was not recovered from the woman.
Chatman’s sister, Theresa, said she was excited but a bit overwhelmed by the news that he will soon be coming home.
“My brother’s a strong man,” she said. “He stuck it out. He is my hero, and I love him.”