By Linhchi Nguyen
CHICAGO – The “Roscetti Four” – wrongfully convicted men who were eventually exonerated – are opposing, in a campaign video, one of the candidates for Cook County State Attorney, charging he was responsible for various wrongful convictions, including their own.
In a campaign video, advocating for Kim Foxx for Cook County’s State Attorney, Marcellius Bradford, Larry Ollins, Calvin Ollins, and Omar Muhummad expressed their disapproval of Foxx’ political opponent, Patrick O’Brien.
These men, known as the “Roscetti Four,” were wrongfully convicted in 1988 for murdering and raping a medical student, named Lori Roscetti, at Chicago’s West Side. They were forced to confess to the crime, and three of them ended up being sentenced to life in prison.
During the trial, the prosecution’s expert claimed that the DNA could have come from the Ollins brothers. But a different assessment from an independent expert revealed that none of the DNA samples at the scenes matched any of the “Roscetti Four.” After 14 years in prison, these men were later exonerated.
Now-candidate O’Brien oversaw the prosecution of the case.
“I’m sitting down in the Pat O’Brien Office, and I’ll never forget what this man told me, never,” Bradford recollected. “‘We know you all ain’t do this crime. But it’s a white woman from Springfield. Somebody’s got to pay for this crime.’”
Bradford went on to describe how he was beat up and was told, “We’re going to get a confession out of you, one way or another.”
Calvin Ollins stated that, “Patrick O’Brien was in the position to declare us innocent, but instead of doing that, he decided to allow the blood of this beautiful lady to be pinned on us.”
“He’s running on a campaign that you got to look out for victims,” Muhummad added, addressing O’Brien’s campaign. “And here this guy is running for office, knowing that he sent four innocent teenagers to prison and allowed the killer of the victim to roam free.”
O’Brien is not only responsible for the “Roscetti Four” conviction but many other wrongful convictions, according to the campaign video.
“Patrick O’Brien cannot be the one to lead the criminal justice system and reform,” Larry Ollins concluded. Instead, he asks viewers to vote for Foxx, the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State Attorney’s Office.
During her time as State Attorney, Foxx was known for her substantial criminal justice reforms, focused on public safety and equity. She led a series of bond reforms and played a vital role in passing legislation to legalize cannabis and provide the broadest and most equitable conviction relief possible.
“A state’s attorney should stand for fairness, and justice, and ethics, and that’s what Kim Foxx represents,” Muhummad claimed. “She actually represents integrity.”
In fact, Foxx’s contribution to the Attorney Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit resulted in overturned convictions in more than 80 cases. This included the first-ever mass exoneration in Cook County for 15 men whose convictions stemmed from police misconduct. She has also prioritized resources away from low-level offenses to focus on violent crimes.
“There are a lot of people that are looking forward to justice that deserve it,” said Larry Ollins. “They’ll see it with Kim Foxx in office.”
The Cook County, Illinois, residents will have the opportunity to vote for either candidate for their State’s Attorney this upcoming general election Nov. 3.
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