On Sept. 15, 1978, the night Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks to win the heavyweight championship for a record third time, a security guard was robbed and killed at a Masonic temple in Harvey, Il. Four days later, police detectives said Anthony McKinney, 18, confessed to killing Donald Lundahl with a single shotgun blast to the head. No physical evidence linked McKinney to the crime.
More than three decades since McKinney’s arrest, says the Chicago Sun-Times, Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions is seeking a new trial based on new evidence it says shows that McKinney is innocent. The center cites evidence uncovered by journalism and law students that includes a videotaped interview with another man who said he was there when Lundahl was killed and that McKinney wasn’t involved. They contend that McKinney and the only two eyewitnesses to testify against him were intimidated, beaten and coerced into a false confession and false testimony. Key evidence includes the TV logs of the Ali-Spinks fight, which show that the witnesses could not have been present when they said they saw McKinney gun down Lundahl.