Ill. inmate who claimed torture is released
CHESTER, Ill. — A man who contended that Chicago police tortured him into confessing to killing a Chicago couple and spent more than 25 years in prison walked out a free man yesterday, eight years after his codefendant was pardoned and freed from the state’s death row by a former Illinois governor.
Eric Caine’s release from southwestern Illinois’ Menard Correctional Center followed a judge’s dismissal Wednesday of charges that had landed him a life sentence.
“Let me breathe the air — I just want to enjoy this moment right now,’’ Caine, 45, said after walking out of Menard, the maximum-security lockup near the Mississippi River, about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.
Cook County Judge William H. Hooks’s ruling came the same day a former Chicago police commander, Jon Burge, reported to a North Carolina federal prison to begin serving a 4 1/2-year sentence for lying about the torture of suspects. Caine had accused the commander of threatening him with a gun.
Caine said he isn’t bitter about his incarceration, but does plan to seek recourse. He said he hopes to marry his girlfriend and channel his efforts into a possible ministry.
Caine wore clothing and shoes provided by his attorney and carried a Bible and family pictures. He said what he’s really been craving is oxtail stew.
“This is the first day of the rest of my life,’’ Caine said, before letting out a loud, “Woo-hoo!’’