Illinois man whose murder conviction was commuted by Pritzker now free

A man whose sentence for a 1990 double murder was commuted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker after allegations he was tortured into confessing to the crime was freed Friday.

Gerald Reed, 57, walked out Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet and into the arms of his mother, Armanda Shackleford. As he spent 29 years in prison for the deaths of Pamela Powers and Willie Williams, Shackleford said her son’s release was a day she thought would never arrive, however she didn’t give up.

"If it wasn’t for the community I wouldn’t be out here," he said after his release. "I lived in Stateville for 30 years, hard, max penitentiary, but I survived it."


Reed was granted a new trial in 2018 on claims he was tortured into a false confession by detectives working for notorious police commander Jon Burge. But last year, a judge ruled Reed should stay in prison because the statement wasn’t used against him during trial.

In addition to the confession, the special prosecutor had said there was ample evidence Reed killed Powers and Williams, including ballistics evidence linking him to the murder weapon.

Reed’s attorneys now say they’ll turn their attention to trying to have his murder conviction vacated.