TOLD TO TES­TIFY

Judge or­ders ex- CPD de­tec­tive Gue­vara to an­swer ques­tions about 1998 case

Chicago Sun-Times - - CITY BEAT - Email: agrimm@ suntimes. com Twit­ter:@ agrimm34 BY ANDY GRIMM Staff Re­porter

A Cook County judge Wed­nes­day or­dered for­mer Chicago Po­lice De­tec­tive Rey­naldo Gue­vara to tes­tify un­der oath about al­le­ga­tions he beat con­fes­sions out of two men who say they were wrong­fully con­victed in a 1998 dou­ble- mur­der.

Af­ter a hour- long hear­ing, Judge James Ob­bish ruled that Gue­vara — who has as­serted his Fifth Amend­ment right and re­fused to an­swer ques­tions about his in­ter­ro­ga­tions of Gabriel So­lache and Ar­turo DeLeon- Reyes — will take the stand in Oc­to­ber to an­swer ques­tions about the case un­der a grant of im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tors.

Gue­vara will be sub­poe­naed to tes­tify as soon as Oct. 17, in a hear­ing that will likely see the court­room gallery filled with de­fense lawyers and civil rights at­tor­neys who have clients who claim they were framed by Gue­vara dur­ing his three decades as a gang de­tec- tive on the North­west Side.

Pros­e­cu­tors main­tained that only Gue­vara’s tes­ti­mony can re­fute So­lache and DeLeon- Reyes’ claims that they were beaten by Gue­vara un­til they con­fessed to the mur­ders of Mar­i­ano and Jac­inta Soto, and an of­fer of “use im­mu­nity” will pre­vent state or fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors from us­ing Gue­vara’s time on the stand as the ba­sis for crim­i­nal charges against him — so long as Gue­vara does not lie un­der oath.

So­lache claims that Gue­vara co­erced his con­fes­sion, then acted as trans­la­tor when So­lache gave a state­ment ins Span­ish to a pros­e­cu­tor.

“Only two peo­ple know ex­actly what Mr. So­lache said,” dur­ing the 1998 in­ter­ro­ga­tion and con­fes­sion, Ob­bish said. “One is Mr. So­lache, the other is De­tec­tive Gue­vara.”

Ob­bish said Gue­vara would have to an­swer ques­tions put to him by pros­e­cu­tors, and if Gue­vara con­tin­ued to as­sert his Fifth Amend­ment rights on the stand de­spite pros­e­cu­tors’ im­mu­nity pledge, the judge said he would take “ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion,” likely mean­ing he would find Gue­vara in con­tempt of court.

It still was un­clear what Gue­vara might do. Gue­vara’s lawyer, cit­ing the ex­am­ple of for­mer Chicago Po­lice Cmdr. Jon Burge’s pros­e­cu­tion for per­jury, ar­gued that de­spite the im­mu­nity deal, Gue­vara would be putting him­self at risk of fac­ing crim­i­nal charges no mat­ter what he said on the stand.

“He can’t an­swer ques­tions, and I can’t in good faith tell him to,” de­fense at­tor­ney Will Fahy said.

Fahy was con­cerned about the mo­tives be­hind pros­e­cu­tors’ of­fer of im­mu­nity, which he called “un­prece­dented.”

“What is the point of com­pelling him to tes­tify at this point?” Fahy asked. “There’s some­thing more in play here.”

As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Alan Spell­berg said the case against So­lache and DeLeon- Reyes can­not be pros­e­cuted with­out Gue­vara’s tes­ti­mony. Pros­e­cu­tors have said they be­lieve Gue­vara.

“We are not try­ing to pa­rade De­tec­tive Gue­vara, to blast him in front of the me­dia, we are not try­ing to set him up for fu­ture pros­e­cu­tion,” Spell­berg said. “We are try­ing to meet our bur­den [ of proof] with the only wit­ness avail­able to us.”

Lawyers for So­lache and DeLeon- Reyes have sought to have the two men’s con­fes­sions thrown in their bid to have the pair re- tried for the mur­ders.

Gue­vara has been a cen­tral fig­ure in sev­eral cases where de­fen­dants who landed in prison based on his de­tec­tive work have been freed amid al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct.

For­mer Chicago Po­lice Det. Rey­naldo Gue­vara in 2013. SUN- TIMES LI­BRARY

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