News & Politics

Innocent Man Released from Prison After 26 Years, Two Lawyers Kept His Innocence Secret

Attorneys waited for their client's death before admitting he was the real killer in the murder that sent Alton Logan to prison for half his life.
Alton Logan served 26 years in Illinois prison for murder before he was released on Friday based on new evidence of his innocence. While DNA evidence is not involved, Logan joins a vast group of people released from prison years after an apparent wrongful conviction. His family members collected $1,000 for bond in the courthouse lobby on Friday and he is now awaiting a decision from the Illinois Attorney General on whether to retry him.

Logan was convicted of a 1982 murder in a McDonald's restaurant and sentenced to life in prison, narrowly avoiding the death penalty. His release was sparked by an affidavit provided by two Illinois attorneys, revealing that their client in another murder case, Andrew Wilson, had confessed to them that he committed the McDonald's murder alone. The confession came before Logan was sentenced in the case. The attorneys had Wilson sign an affidavit admitting his guilt, but kept it locked away because they weren't allowed to break attorney-client privilege. Wilson told them they could release the affidavit if he died, and he passed away last year in prison.

CBS News' "60 Minutes" reported on the case last month, including interviews with Logan and Wilson's two lawyers, one of whom says in the interview that he thought about Logan's case almost every day for 26 years, but he felt obligated to maintain his attorney-client privilege with Wilson.
"There might be other attorneys who have similar secrets that they're keeping," attorney Jamie Kunz said. "What makes this case so different is that (we) came forward… and (talked) to Wilson before his death, and get his permission: 'If you die, can we talk?' Without that, we wouldn't be here today."
But Logan says in a prison interview that he can't understand why the two attorneys didn't release the information sooner. He also says the system is built to convict people and often misses the truth.
"They are quick to convict, but they are slow to correct their mistakes," Logan said.
The "60 Minutes" segment is a must-see for anyone interested in the issue of wrongful convictions. Watch it here.
Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018