It was almost 30 years ago when five Chicago police detectives working under disgraced former Cmdr. Jon Burge burst into Jerry Mahaffey's South Side apartment to question him in the home invasion, rape and slaying of a Rogers Park couple and near-fatal beating of their son.
When Mahaffey denied knowledge of the attack, one detective punched him in the nose and another threw him into a wall and put a gun to his head, according to a court records. The detectives allegedly pummeled Mahaffey, nearly suffocated him with a plastic garbage bag and threatened to put his children in an orphanage. Mahaffey eventually confessed, was convicted and is serving life in prison.
On Thursday, the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission found credible evidence that Chicago detectives had tortured Mahaffey — as well as four others sentenced to lengthy prison terms — into confessing to murder. Each of the five cases will now be assigned to a Cook County Criminal Court judge to decide whether a new trial is warranted.