« on: January 22, 2008, 06:33:16 AM »
After 25 years, lawyers reveal haunting secret
For a quarter of a century, two Chicago lawyers were bound by the rules of law to hold onto a secret that now could mean freedom for a man serving a life sentence for murder.
The secret — memorialized on an affidavit locked in a metal box — was that their client, Andrew Wilson, admitted that he killed a security guard at a McDonald’s in January 1982.
Lawyers Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz could do nothing as another man, Alton Logan, was tried and convicted.
The two lawyers testified in court last week that they were bound by the attorneyclient privilege and Wilson’s admonition that they reveal his admission only after his death. Wilson, who was serving a life sentence for killing two police officers, died of natural causes Nov. 19.
Coventry and Kunz have been haunted by knowing that they had evidence of Logan’s innocence, but could not disclose it until Wilson died. “It was a relief,” said Kunz, 70. “It hurts to know somebody is in prison all these years and is innocent.”
The saga began with the Jan. 11, 1982, robbery at a McDonald’s in which security guard Lloyd Wycliffe was killed by a shotgun blast and another guard was wounded. The gunmen stole the guards’ handguns.
On Feb. 5, 1982, Edgar Hope was arrested after he killed a police officer. He was carrying a gun taken from the guards at the McDonald’s.
Two days later, Logan was arrested and, along with Hope, charged with murder in the McDonald’s case, based on the testimony of witnesses who said he killed Wycliffe.
The ink was barely dry on the charges when, on Feb. 9, two Chicago police officers were shot dead. Their guns were taken. The crime triggered a massive search for Andrew Wilson and his brother, Jackie.
On Feb. 13, police raided a beauty parlor where they believed Andrew Wilson was hiding. While they did not find Wilson, they did find the guns belonging to the two dead officers, and a shotgun. Firearms tests linked the shotgun to a shell found at the McDonald’s. But with two men already charged in the shootings, and witnesses saying only two gunmen were involved, authorities never charged Wilson in that case.
Coventry and Kunz, both then assistant public defenders, were assigned to be Wilson’s lawyers. The attorney defending Edgar Hope came to them to say his client was contending that Logan was innocent, and that it was Wilson who killed the guard.
Coventry and Kunz confronted Wilson with Hope’s claim.
“He kind of chuckled over the fact that someone else was charged with something he did,” Coventry recalled.
The lawyers were bound by attorney ethics not to disclose Wilson’s statement, but he said they could reveal it after his death. Conversations between a client and his lawyer are almost always confidential, unless the client agrees to disclose them.
On March 17, 1982, Coventry and Kunz drew up the affidavit in which Wilson swore Logan did not kill Lloyd Wycliffe. Each lawyer signed it, as did a witness and a notary public. Then they sealed it in a metal box.
thats just sick...