David Wright, who spent almost 30 years in prison for a double murder he says he didn’t commit, has had all charges dropped by Cook County prosecutors. The Exoneration Project proved in court that detectives coerced Wright into confessing to the crime when he was 17 years old. The police used illegal tactics, such as abuse and deception, to get Wright to admit to killing his two neighbors. There was no physical or forensic evidence or any witnesses to connect him to the crime.
Last year, the Exoneration Project revealed at least 25 overturned or dropped convictions connected to the same detectives. At least 10 people who were forced to confess were acquitted at trial, and at least eight people had their charges dropped before going to trial. Wright’s lawyers alleged that Detectives James Cassidy, Kenneth Boudreau, and John Halloran “have a well-documented pattern and practice of generating false confessions out of the innocent,” conduct that can be seen in more than 40 cases.
Wright was released from prison in September 2022 after serving 28 and a half years behind bars. He is now seeking a certificate of innocence to sue the city for damages. Meanwhile, he plans to complete his studies to obtain a GED and fight for others wrongfully convicted.
Although Wright’s release is a victory for justice, the family of one of the victims is struggling with the decision. Sabrina Morgan, the sister of Robert Smith, said there was “overwhelming evidence” that proved Wright’s guilt, and she wonders where the justice for her brother and the other victim is.