Twenty three years ago, Robert Almodovar was convicted of double homicide and given the death penalty.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) April 13, 2017
Almodovar entered prison in 1994, leaving behind his six month old daughter, Jasmyn. Though no weapon or physical evidence linking him to the case, Almodovar had been locked up in Cook County Jail since 1994.
Almodovar’s conviction largely rested on the testimony of Chicago police Detective Reynaldo Guevara, who is now retired.
— Aqui y Ahora (@AquiyAhoraShow) December 12, 2016
A recent Buzzfeed article reported that as many of Guevara’s cases have fallen apart under closer examination. Guevara was known for his ability to get convictions, but his tactics aroused the suspicion of a few of his colleagues. In March of 2017, BuzzFeed reported, when Guevara was asked about the Almodovar case, the retired detective pleaded the fifth 159 times.
Detective Guevara is believed to have framed 51 people for murder during the course of his career, Buzzfeed reported.
"That's my uncle"
The family of Roberto Almodovar wait for him to be released from prison after 23 years
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) April 14, 2017
A few weeks after the testimony, Cook County Judge James Linn was informed by prosecutors that they would no longer pursue a case against Almodovar. As the Chicago Tribune reported, the Judge granted the request to repeal the Almodovar’s conviction, saying, “I was stunned. I’d never seen anything like this.”
Today, Almodovar walked from prison a free man.
Roberto Almodovar is a free man pic.twitter.com/CJzpKY0GJe
— Andy Grimm (@agrimm34) April 14, 2017
Almodovar was greeted by family members that were overcome with both joy and grief: joy for the release of their loved one, and grief over the years they’d lost with Robert Almodovar. Live streams of his release showed family member and friends swarming him with love and laughs and tears. Each one embracing Almodovar as a free man for the first time in 23 years. One enthusiastic nephew could be heard shouting, “That’s my uncle!”
After greeting his loved-ones, Almodovar gave a brief interview with reporters.
Almodovar said that the first things he plans on doing now that he’s free is spending time with his family, eat some good food, maybe even learning how to use a cellphone – having been locked up since 1994, Almodovar hasn’t ever taken a selfie or sent a text. As far as longterm plans, Almodovar said he wanted to get into school, pick up a trade, spend time with his family, and just catch up.
Almodovar said he also wanted to do his part to help out other people who were victims of Guevara’s corruption.
When asked, Almodovar told reporters that he couldn’t forgive Guevara for what he had done.
— Jon Lowenstein (@JonLowenstein) April 14, 2017
His attorney reminded reporters that Guevara had tried to kill Almodovar – the initial punishment was the death penalty. When asked by reporters what his message was for the retired detective, Almodovar said:
“I don’t know how he can live with himself… with what he did […] like my lawyer said, he tried to kill me. I was facing the death penalty. And he didn’t care. So I’m hoping – I pray to God – that the new State Attorney will put some charges on him. Hold him accountable for what he did. That’s what I want. I hope it happens.”
Guevara, who retired in 2005, still receives his $75,650 pension, BuzzFeed reported.
Almodovar told reporters that the hardest part of being locked up was being away from his daughter, Jasmyn.
Jasmyn, now 23, has never known her father as a free man. When asked by reporters, she said “I feel like it’s still not real” and that she was very overwhelmed. As the Chicago Tribune reported, Almodovar said he wanted to teach his daughter how to ride a bike, to which she replied, “The thing is, I kind of don’t (know), so it’s perfect.” Jasmyn also said she would teach him how to use a cellphone.
When asked if there was anything else he wanted to “share with the world…”
… Almodovar gave a joyful, “Free at last. Free at last!”
Check out the entire livestream video of Almodovar’s release, courtesy of BuzzFeed’s Facebook page.
Man Freed From Prison After BuzzFeed News InvestigationFreed From Prison After 23 Years — A man who claims he was framed for a 1994 double murder by a retired Chicago detective had his conviction tossed Friday morning and walked free from prison for the first time in 23 years // (Skip to 2:15:00 to witness the moment Roberto Almodovar is released and greeted by his friends and family) // http://bzfd.it/2p3tlyz
Posted by BuzzFeed News on Friday, April 14, 2017
[H/T] BuzzFeed: Detective Guevara’s Witnesses