RONALD KITCHEN was freed in July of 2009 after spending 21 years in prison, 13 of which were on death row, for a crime he always maintained he did not commit. Ronald was forced into a false confession during an interrogation in which he was allegedly beaten by detectives under the directive of Commander Jon Burge of the Area 2 police station in Chicago. Ronald was eventually granted a new trial and, with representation by Thomas F. Geraghty and Carolyn E. Frazier of Northwestern's Bluhm Legal Clinic, and Mark Oates and Angela Vigil of Baker & McKenzie, was released after prosecutors dropped all charges. On his first day of freedom, Ronald hugged his 20-year-old son for the first time.
Said Ronald to the Chicago Sun-Times: “If you're getting whooped for over 39 hours and you're constantly saying that you didn't do it and they're constantly doing what they're doing, somewhere along the line you're going to realize they're not going to stop unless somebody gives in…I gave in hoping that the judge and the jury would see that, 'Hey, he's telling the truth.' But it didn't happen that way. It took 20 years.”
Ronald now lives in Indiana and has taken a part-time job working with Goodwill Industries. He is interested in pursuing career opportunities that would capitalize on the baking experience he gained while wrongfully in prison.
- 2 men freed for five 1988 murders (Chicago Tribune)
- Death Penalty Information Center (Press Release)
- Three Chicago Torture Victims Exonerated (Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Report)
- The Exoneration of Ronald Kitchen (Northwestern University)
- Ronald Kitchen: Tortured, Framed, Then Sentenced to Death (YouTube)
- Wrongful Convictions Follow-Up (Dr. Phil)
- Ronald Kitchen's Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit (Wrongful Convictions)
- Ripple Effect (ABC7 News)