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Death penalty debate continues 25 years after prisoner’s release

Good morning Chicago.

The death row inmate walked out of the Cook County Jail on Feb. 5, 1999, a free man for the first time in nearly 16 years after narrowly escaping execution by lethal injection.

The suit that Anthony Porter would wear in his coffin had already been prepared. A Chicago resident convicted and sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of a young couple in Washington Park in 1982 was granted a stay by the Illinois Supreme Court about 48 hours before he was scheduled to be executed.

Porter was later granted a pardon due to innocence; It was a high-profile acquittal that shed light on many problems with the death penalty system and paved the way for Illinois to abolish the death penalty in 2011.

But it turned out that the case had become more complicated over the years: Another man confessed, recanted, and that conviction was also annulled; This resulted in allegations that a local journalism professor and college students used unethical tactics and practices while investigating a double murder.

To this day, Justice still out for 1982 Washington Park shootingdespite two convictions in the case.

Twenty-five years after Porter’s dramatic release, executions in the United States have been on the rise over the past few years, but nowhere near as common as they have historically.

Read the full story with Angie Leventis Lourgos.

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Construction of the CREATE Forest Hill Bridge Project near 75th Street and Western Avenue to carry north-south trains via Belt Interchange, Jan. 5, 2024. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)

Kemer Junction is a notorious bottleneck. Fixing this could increase rail capacity, but the benefits to South Side residents could be mixed.

As we wait at the Percy Fields Belt Junction, three freight trains pull up nearby, their engines running and their headlights gleaming in the cold pre-dawn darkness.

Fields is the president of the Chicago Belt Railroad, which operates one of the trains. His job is to keep it moving.

But this morning, like so many others, freight carriers have to wait for a lone Metra commuter train to pass and clear the way. They can then honk their horns, ring and start moving.

Francisco Hernandez, a 31-year-old Venezuelan, stands in the basement of a home shared by several immigrant families in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood on Jan. 30, 2024, before taking his children to school.  The owner of the house is the property manager.  Chris Amatore said Chicago houses more than 400 immigrants in apartments and houses.  (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)
Francisco Hernandez, a 31-year-old Venezuelan, stands in the basement of a home shared by several immigrant families in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood on Jan. 30, 2024, before taking his children to school. The owner of the house is the property manager. Chris Amatore said Chicago houses more than 400 immigrants in apartments and houses. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)

A Chicago man offers housing and social life to hundreds of immigrants

Joselin Mendoza, along with 25 other immigrants, sleeps on a thin mattress in a cold stone basement with her two children in a two-story house in Roseland. There is no furniture in the house, and Venezuelan families sleep on mattresses or blankets on the floor. Their clothes and stuffed animals are stacked in neat piles nearby.

The property’s owner, Chris Amatore, arrived in a truck one day and offered him the chance to leave a city-run shelter before he and his family were kicked out.

CPS sign in windows outside CPS headquarters on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.  (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)
CPS sign in windows outside CPS headquarters on December 14, 2023. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

Students, teachers and activists unite for investment in green schools and resilience to climate change

Dozens of students, teachers and activists gathered outside City Hall on Sunday afternoon to launch the Green New Deal for Chicago Public Schools campaign, calling on officials to increase investments in green schools and climate resilience.

Police are investigating the scene where Kajuan Raye was fatally shot by police Sgt.  John Poulos, November 2016. Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

Police are investigating the scene where Kajuan Raye was fatally shot by police Sgt. John Poulos in November 2016.

Chicago police sergeant involved in two controversial fatal shootings is now running for Cook County judge

Sergeant. John Poulos, also a licensed attorney, is running for the vacant judicial seat on the North Side against three challengers: local attorneys Michael Zink and Nickolas Pappas and Nadine Jean Wichern, chief of the Illinois attorney general’s civil appeals division.

Jermaine Harris welcomed his newborn daughter, AJ, on December 26, 2023.  Harris' father, Lee Harris, died eight months after his release from prison and just before the birth of his grandchild.  Harris spent 33 years in prison and was eventually exonerated.  (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)
Jermaine Harris welcomed his newborn daughter, AJ, on December 26, 2023. Harris’ father, Lee Harris, died eight months after his release from prison and just before the birth of his grandson. Harris spent 33 years in prison and was eventually exonerated. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)

Death crushes dreams of man recently freed after 30 years in prison

Lee Harris died as he entered the final chapter of his interrupted life.

Harris was convicted of murder and served 33 years in prison. During his decades in prison, he earned a college associate’s degree, volunteered in prison ministries and directed gospel choirs, all while trying to prove his innocence.

Eight months before his death last Thanksgiving (at the age of 68), the Chicago man finally regained his freedom.

The Hollywood House building at the corner of North Sheridan Road and West Hollywood Avenue in Edgewater on Jan. 29, 2024.  Hollywood House is one of the Heartland Housing properties the organization is considering selling.  (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)
The Hollywood House building at the corner of North Sheridan Road and West Hollywood Avenue in Edgewater on Jan. 29, 2024. Hollywood House is one of the Heartland Housing properties the organization is considering selling. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune)

Financial crisis at Heartland Alliance leads to furloughs, program cuts and attempts to sell hundreds of affordable homes

One of the city’s leading social services agencies, beset by a pair of financial crises affecting its housing and health care divisions in the past year, may be on the verge of splitting.

The turmoil at Heartland Alliance, a five-part nonprofit that provides a broad range of social services, threatens to upend crucial safety net programs at a time when Chicago is experiencing an influx of immigrants, many of whom need help with health care and housing.

Injured Bulls guard Zach LaVine catches the ball going out of bounds in the third quarter at the United Center on Dec. 26, 2023.

Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

Injured Bulls guard Zach LaVine catches the ball going out of bounds in the third quarter at the United Center on Dec. 26, 2023.

Chicago Bulls running out of time and options as trade deadline approaches

The team’s course was set long before it was announced Saturday that Zach LaVine would undergo season-ending surgery. The Bulls can’t keep their head above .500.

Taylor Swift wins best pop vocal album "Midnight" During the 66th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024.  (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Chris Pizzello/AP

Taylor Swift received the best pop vocal album award for her song “Midnights” at the 66th Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024.

Taylor Swift broke a new record by winning the album of the year award for the fourth time at the Grammy Awards

Swift won album of the year for “Midnights” at the Grammy Awards, breaking the record for most wins in the category with four awards.

One of the biggest awards of the night, the record of the year, went to Miley Cyrus with her second Grammy award and the second of the night, “Flowers”.

Ricky Ubeda and Ben Cook "illinois" at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.  (Liz Lauren)
Ricky Ubeda and Ben Cook in “Illinoise” at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. (Liz Lauren)

Review: In ‘Illinoise’ on Chicago Shakes, the Sufjan Stevens album’s choreography is transformed into something new

“I got my bags, Illinois,” singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens wrote. “I saw a lake in my dream and I took my son. Man of Steel, Man of Heart. Turn your ear to me.”

That single stanza, Tribune critic Chris Jones More than anything heard on Stevens’ 2005 album “Illinois,” he seems to have driven the spectacular new theater experience at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s The Yard.

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