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Michael Tillman, Tortured Into Murder Confession, Free After 24 Years (VIDEO)

Michael Tillman

First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:10 PM ET

After serving nearly 24 years in jail for the rape and murder of a mail clerk found dead in a South Side apartment, Michael Tillman was freed from prison Thursday--and hopes that the police officers who tortured him into confessing "get what they got coming."

In 1986, police arrested Tillman and, under the leadership of former Area 2 commander Jon Burge, tortured him to confess to the murder of 42-year-old Betty Howard.

Tillman, who was 20 at the time, was allegedly waterboarded with 7-Up, beaten with a phone book and punched in the face and stomach until he vomited blood, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

He confessed to the crime to stop the torture, but maintained his innocence over the years.

Judges initially dismissed Tillman's torture claims--even after another man with found with physical evidence linking him to the slaying was convicted in 1991.

I'm glad justice was done," Tillman said upon his release. "I was a victim too."

Howard's family, however, was not so happy with Tillman's release. The Sun-Times reports:

Howard's daughter Angelita and Howard's boyfriend Ora Russell, who had proposed to her a day before her murder, said today they still believe Tillman was involved in Howard's death.

Tillman's post-prison plans include getting to know his family better, and in the more immediate future: getting some chicken from Popeye's.

Watch the video of Tillman's release:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.


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Filed by Jen Sabella  |