Man did 12 years for rape, murder

By: Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times: October 5th, 2011

Chicago taxpayers will spend $1.25 million to compensate a man who spent 12 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit after allegedly being beaten and coerced into a false confession by detectives working under Jon Burge.

The body of 39-year-old Kathy Morgan was discovered in an abandoned and torched South Side building in October 1990. The victim had been raped, beaten and strangled.

Eighteen months later, Harold Hill was questioned about Morgan’s murder after being arrested on an unrelated charge. A teenager at the time, Hill claims that he confessed only after being hit, threatened and force-fed a false version of events by Belmont Area detectives.

Hill’s 2006 lawsuit against the city initially named nine police officers as defendants, including Burge, the convicted former Area 2 commander who once worked at the Belmont Area.

Burge was subsequently dismissed from the case by a judge who determined that he had been suspended because of other torture allegations at the time of Hill’s confession.

One of the remaining eight officers was a detective working under Burge in the Belmont Area.

Cook County prosecutors dropped the case against Hill and his co-defendant Dan Young Jr. in 2005 after DNA testing ruled them out as the offenders.

A $7 million report by special prosecutors concluded that Burge and his Area 2 underlings tortured criminal suspects for two decades while police brass looked the other way. But the report concluded it’s too late to prosecute because the statute of limitations has long since run out.

Burge was convicted last summer of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the torture that went on under his watch. He is currently serving a 4 1/2-year sentence in federal prison.