Man wrongly convicted of murder opens barber college in Rogers Park

A man who was wrongly convicted of murder is using his settlement money to help others.

Nearly 30 years ago, Juan Rivera thought he was going to die in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Now, he is relieved to be giving back to the community. 

Inside Legacy Barber College along West Howard Street in Rogers Park, students work hard to perfect their craft.

Rivera says it is one of the best ways he can give back.

He served 20 years at Stateville Prison after being wrongly convicted of rape and murder in the death of 11-year-old Holly Staker.

In 2012, Rivera’s conviction was overturned.


He currently has 32 students at the barber college.

While in prison, Rivera was adamant about getting a fresh hair cut before court appearances. He says his time in the barber’s seat is what inspired the college. 

Rivera is working with Evanston High School and Oakton Community College to offer students alternative programs.