KANKAKEE — Five months after his 1999 murder case was dismissed, Terrence Haynes had the case expunged from his record on Thursday in 21st Judicial Court.
Nine days before his 43rd birthday, Haynes was granted a certificate of innocence by Associate Judge Michael Sabol. State’s Attorney Jim Rowe did not object to the motion.
The certificate allows his Chicago attorneys, Andrew Hale and Shawn Barnett, to bring a claim of damages against the state.
Under the current guidelines, Haynes could receive up to $200,000 for being imprisoned for 20 years.
Among other things, the certificate helps provide financial assistance for education.
“I feel good,” Haynes said. His mother and father were among a dozen supporters on hand.
Haynes has been traveling to see family and now has his driver’s license.
Next week, he will celebrate his birthday with family in Atlanta. He said he would like a red velvet cake.
With Thanksgiving a week away, Haynes said he also is looking forward to a home-cooked meal.
“This is a huge day as the court expunged the case,” Hale said. “Today means so much to see justice finally prevailed.”
Haynes was convicted in August 2000 of shooting and killing Cezaire Murrell on May 27, 1999 in Kankakee. He was sentenced to 45 years.
The conviction was reversed twice by the Illinois Appellate Court.
It was set to go to trial back in June, instead Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe had the charges dismissed. Haynes was out on bail at the time.
Marcus Hammond, who the state used as its key witness, recanted his testimony that Murrell did not have a gun when Haynes fired two shots hitting Murrell.
Hammond was 10 years old when the shooting occurred on the porch of his brother’s (Gary Hammond) house.
According to court documents, Hammond told investigators Murrell was armed and going for his gun. Hammond said prosecutors told him to say he did not see Murrell with a gun.
One of the prosecutors on the case, Michael Jeneary, and Marcus Hammond are cousins. This fact was brought up when Haynes filed a motion in 2008 that his due process rights were violated.
Several witnesses to the shooting did not testify during the 2000 trial.
Other evidence came to light when Debra Williams said Murrell left her apartment before the shooting a few blocks away. Williams said Murrell told her he was going to someone’s house to collect some money and showed her he had a gun in his waistband.
Haynes’ attorneys have filed a federal wrongful conviction civil lawsuit.
They argue Haynes’ constitutional rights were violated, including the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizures) and 14th Amendment (due process).
The other four counts deal with Illinois state law (malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, legal malpractice and compensation).
It names as defendants the Kankakee State’s Attorney Office; Frank Astrella and Michael Jeneary; County of Kankakee; then-public defender Jamie Boyd; the Kankakee County Public Defender’s Office; Kankakee police officers Kenneth Lowman, Samuel Miller and Susan Wagner; and the city of Kankakee.
Astrella and Jeneary prosecuted the case. Lowman, Miller and Wagner investigated the case. Boyd was Haynes’ public defender.