Chicago committee OKs $25 million settlement to 2 men wrongfully convicted of 1993 murder of IIT hoops star

Two men who served a combined 34 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of the 1993 murder of a college basketball star will divide $25 million, thanks to a settlement advanced Monday by a City Council committee.

If the full Council signs off on the payment Thursday, Tyrone Hood will get $17.5 million in compensation for spending 22 years in prison for the murder of Marshall Morgan Jr., a student athlete at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Wayne Washington, who spent 12 years behind bars, will get the remaining $7.5 million.

The city’s insurance carrier will cover $5 million of the settlement, with the rest borne by Chicago taxpayers.

Morgan Jr. was a 19-year-old IIT basketball star when his body was found nine days after he was reported missing. He had been shot, and his body had been wedged between the front and back seats of his mother’s car. Beer bottles and cans were recovered from the vehicle, and Hood’s fingerprint was on one of the bottles. Hood was questioned, denied involvement and identified Washington as his alibi witness.

"Washington was located and told detectives that he had seen Hood driving the victim’s mom’s car and stated that Hood shot the victim while the two were attempting to rob the victim," Deputy Corporation Counsel Jessica Felker told the Finance Committee.

"After 36 hours in custody, Washington gave a handwritten statement. … Washington now claims that statement was coerced and fabricated by the detective, who he claims told him what to tell the prosecutor."

Both men have long accused now-retired Chicago Police Detective Kenneth Boudreau and partner John Halloran of concocting evidence and pressuring witnesses to testify against them. Washington said he was beaten into a false confession.


After a bench trial, Hood was found guilty and sentenced to 75 years in prison. Washington chose a jury trial that ended in a mistrial. He ultimately pleaded guilty and got a 25-year sentence.

Felker told the committee both men claim the true killer is Marshall Morgan Sr., the victim’s father. He also had been suspected in the fatal 1995 shooting of his fiancée, whose body was similarly found wedged between the back and front seat of her own car.

"Also, the father had taken out life insurance policies on both Morgan Jr. and his fiancée before they died," Felker said.

"Morgan Sr., however, was not charged with his fiancee’s murder. But in 2001, he did plead guilty to the fatal shooting of his then-girlfriend, who was found in the trunk of her own car. He was sentenced to 75 years for that crime and remains in prison today," Felker said.

Hood and his attorneys launched a media campaign that culminated in a clemency request to then-Gov. Pat Quinn, who agreed to commute Hood’s sentence in 2015. Washington had already been released in 2008.

In 2015, the state’s attorney’s office agreed to vacate and dismiss charges against both men. Six years later, Hood was awarded a certificate of innocence. Washington’s request for a certificate of innocence was granted by the Illinois Supreme Court in July, on the eve of a trial averted by the $25 million settlement.

Felker called the settlement "fiscally prudent," noting the city went to trial on a wrongful conviction case earlier this year and, in May, that jury awarded the plaintiff $27 million as compensation for 24 years in prison.

"The two men here have spent a combined 34 years in custody and at trial, they will likely seek $34 million to $68 million. They will use the certificates of innocence as well as the evidence against Morgan Sr. to prove their innocence," Felker said, noting that during a deposition, Morgan Sr. asserted his constitutional right to remain silent when asked about his possible involvement in his son’s death.

"Also, plaintiffs will present other allegations of misconduct against Detective Boudreau, who currently has 10 other lawsuits pending against him."

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said he’s concerned because in the past, the city has shelled out an average of $250,000 per year of incarceration in wrongful conviction cases.

"This settlement is off the charts — significantly higher than that figure. We’re setting our own precedent here. I don’t know why we would do that. … What is the justification for this significant jump?" Hopkins said.

"We’re setting the bar extraordinarily high," he added. "What we’re doing right now is binding the city to a course of action that we can’t afford. … Despite the disturbing elements of this case, we should take it to trial and see if we can get a lower amount established."

Ald. Bill Conway (34th) joined Hopkins and Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) in voting against the settlement.

"We have 10 more cases coming down the pike with this detective, not to mention a challenging budget season ahead of us amidst a precarious financial situation," Conway said.

"I’ve always supported settlement where I believed the facts and the money fits. But this was about the amount — not the facts of the case."

Felker argued there are "factors in this case that warrant going above our usual average."

"The last time the city settled a Boudreau case was in 2017. There were four companion cases, and we settled for a total of $30 million. The state’s attorney’s office was also a defendant in that case and settled for another $29 million. In those four cases, where were 64 years incarceration. Meaning the settlement was almost $1 million per year," she said.

Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) bristled at the notion of putting a maximum compensation on a year spent in prison for a wrongful conviction.

"Whenever we talk about ‘backing the blue’ … no one talks about the fact that we have officers who have been corrupt that lead to these consequences that shouldn’t have been officers in the first place," Vasquez said.

The Finance Committee also signed off on three other lesser settlements ranging from $150,000 to $350,000. Two involved allegations of police wrongdoing, including a domestic violence victim. The third involved two women injured when a dead tree fell on them. The tree had been the subject of two 311 complaints.