(JOLIET) Blame it on "the young people." That seemed to be the sentiment Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow stumbled into as he tried to explain why a man might confess to a killing he did not commit.
It wasn't the first time unbelievable events have come out of Will County government buildings. In fact, 6 years ago we were all sitting before a different state's attorney as he announced charges that Kevin Fox had killed his 3-year-old daughter Riley... and confessed to it on videotape. Almost immediately, Fox said the confession had been coerced by Will County Sheriff's detectives.
Riley Fox's murder, her father's reported confession and the charges all unfolded amidst a bitter election battle between then-prosecutor Jeff Tomczak and Glasgow.
Eight months later we were back in Will County. This time we were here reporting on DNA evidence that put another, unidentified person, at Riley Fox's murder scene. Freshly elected state's attorney Glasgow ordered Fox released. In the years that followed a judge would rule detectives framed Fox and were "absurd" to overlook evidence pointing to other suspects.
Today, prosecutors say that DNA evidence shows convicted sex offender Scott Eby was likely Riley's killer. Reporters peppered Glasgow with questions about how and why the case was so mishandled. He blamed his predecessor, financial constrains, and then seemed to suggest Kevin Fox's confession to a crime he didn't commit was a symptom of generational differences.
"I'm 60 years old and I grew up in a generation where people wouldn't make those statements," Glasgow told reporters. "But now we've got 'generation x' and 'generation y' and they're a whole different mindset."
It's as if Glasgow believes innocent men confess to crimes in the same way teens listen to bad music or wear their hair too long and shaggy. If Glasgow believes that, I would encourage him to spend some time in a courtroom downtown at the Dirksen Federal Building in the next few weeks. That's where former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge is on trial, accused of conspiring to cover-up beatings, torture and coerced confessions that are said to have resulted in countless innocent men going to death row. Coerced confessions from men of Glasgow's generation.