3 – The Roscetti Four (Convicted in 1987)
On October 18, 1986, the body of a medical student by the name of Lori Roscetti was found on Chicago’s West Side. She had also been raped in a crime that shocked and angered residents of the city. In January and February 1987, four men were arrested and charged with the rape and murder of Roscetti. Brothers Larry and Calvin Ollins (aged 16 & 14 respectively), Marcellius Bradford (aged 17) and Omar Saunders (aged 18) were the four men in question.
The teenagers were accused of hijacking Roscetti’s car as she returned from night studying at the Rush University Medical school. They took her out of the vehicle and forced her to cross to road to a railroad where she was raped and murdered. According to the police and prosecutors working on the case at the time, both Bradford and Calvin Ollins confessed to the crime. Apparently, they attacked the young woman for money to ensure 14-year old Ollins had the bus fare to get home. Bradford ultimately confessed and received a reduced 12-year sentence for testifying against Larry Ollins.
The other three boys received life sentences, and during the trial, the prosecution’s expert claimed that the DNA could have come from the Ollins brothers. However, an independent DNA expert examined the trial expert’s notes in 2001 and proved that none of the DNA samples at the scenes matched any of the Roscetti Four. Moreover, this information was known at the time of the trial. The four men were released after serving 15 years in prison. Bradford was still in prison due to other charges.
In 2004, Duane Roach and Eddie Harris pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Roscetti and received sentences of 75 years in prison apiece. The DNA had linked them to the murder in 2002. As it transpired, Harris and Roach approached Roscetti’s vehicle when it was parked in an alley close to her home and abducted her at knifepoint. They drove her to West 15th Place and repeatedly raped her before hitting her head with a concrete block. Roach had three previous convictions for rape while Harris had two convictions for robbery.