A federal jury on Wednesday awarded a man more than $13 million after he sued thecity, seven Chicago police officers and two Cook County prosecutors over his conviction for the 1992 slayings of Jeffrey Lassiter and Sharon Haugabook.
Tears streamed down Deon Patrick’s face, and he clutched a photograph of his late mother that he wears around his neck, as Judge Ronald Guzman announced the award. Patrick wore a bright-green sweater vest to the courtroom and hugged his attorneys after the verdict was read.
“I feel like my day has finally come,” Patrick said minutes after the hearing. “They tricked me into believing it was over in 2014.
“To sit there for 25 years, and then to have to go through this all over again, and listen to the lies all over again,” he said after five weeks of testimony and more than two days of jury deliberation. “They made me relive it.”
Patrick spent two decades in prison before Cook County prosecutors dismissed the murder charges against him in 2014. He filed his lawsuit that same year.
The verdict comes four months after a federal jury awarded $22 million to Nathson Fields, an ex-El Rukn gang member who spent more than a decade on Death Row only to be cleared of a 1984 double murder.
Patrick’s case went to trial March 6 in front of Judge Guzman. Patrick’s lawyer, Stuart Chanen, told jurors during closing arguments Monday there was no physical evidence linking Patrick to the slayings.
“They fabricated evidence against [Patrick],” Chanen said of the police and prosecutors targeted by the lawsuit. “They coerced his confession. They manipulated evidence.