For 25 years, defense lawyers Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz were bound by the rules of law to hold onto a secret that now could mean freedom for a man serving a life sentence for murder. The secret — memorialized in a notarized affidavit that they locked in a metal box — was that their client, Andrew Wilson, admitted that he shotgunned to death a security guard at a Chicago McDonald’s restaurant in January 1982. Bound to silence by attorney-client privilege, Kunz and Coventry could do nothing as another man, Alton Logan, 54, was tried and convicted instead. The two lawyers testified in court last week that they were freed to reveal their secret when Wilson, who was serving a life sentence for the murders of two Chicago police officers, died of natural causes Nov. 19, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Their testimony sets the stage for what could be a legal battle over the admission of the secret in court. “The prosecution should put on the white hat and get this poor innocent man out,” Coventry said Friday. Assistant Illinois Atty. Gen. Richard Schwind, who is representing the state, declined to comment because the case is pending. Coventry and Kunz both recounted separately how they had been haunted over the years by knowing that they had evidence of Logan’s innocence, but could not legally disclose it until Wilson died. “It hurts to know somebody is in prison all these years and is innocent,” said Kunz, 70.