Real Name: Steven Shores
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Date: August 10, 1982
Details: On August 10, 1982, while on his way to work, an off-duty security guard named Garrison Hester was shot to death in the South side of Chicago. Four days later, a twenty-year-old local resident, Steve Shores, was arrested and charged with Garrison's murder. David "Bo" Burns and Chester "Blood" Bland, part of a gang called "El Rukns", testified in court that a Steve was the person who shot and killed Garrison. Steve was later convicted of murder and sentenced to thirty five years in prison. However, he claims that he is innocent and that the two men who testified against him were the actual killers.
At the time of Garrison's murder, the South Side of Chicago was filled with drugs, crime, and violent street gangs. The El Rukns was one of the most powerful and held great control over the people that lived there. According to Steve and his family, most of the people that tried to stand up to the gang either ended up dead or in jail.
Steve grew up on the South Side and admits that he had at least one run-in with the police. However, at the age of eighteen, he joined the Army and was later honorably discharged. He then returned to Chicago and got a job. Steve claimed that on the night of the murder, he and a friend were riding bikes home from a beach on Lake Michigan when they turned on Drexel Street, near the El Rukns headquarters. At the same time, Garrison walked passed Bo and Blood. One of them went after Garrison and shot him twice. Steve claimed that he witnessed the aftermath of the shooting and that the men threatened to kill him.
The next day, Steve claimed that he was confronted by Blood and another gang member. Blood threatened to kill him if he told anyone about the shooting. Acting on a tip, police picked up Steve three days later. Initially, he was told that he was being brought in for "failure to pay child support". However, he claims that he was held for 72 hours and questioned repeatedly about the murder.
Steve said that he then made a crucial mistake: he lied about being on Drexel Street when the murder occurred. He said that he was home all day because he had gone to the dentist. He said that he didn't tell the truth because he was afraid that he or his family would be killed. At the same time, Bo and Blood were being interrogated about the murder. They admitted being at the scene and claimed that Steve was the killer.
Steve was assigned public defender Andrea Lyon. He initially told her that he was home at the time of the murder. Steve was charged with Garrison's murder, largely on the strength of Bo and Blood's testimony. However, there was one other witness with no connection to the gang or Steve. The witness was shown a live lineup which included Steve. However, he did not pick out Steve and described the assailant as dark-skinned, even though Steve was lighter-skinned.
Four months later, Steve went on trial. The prosecution's case depended on three witnesses: Bo, Blood, and their friend Myra Sexton. On the advice of his attorney, Steve requested a bench trial rather than a jury trial. She had been told that it was better to present a strong defense case to a judge rather than a jury. Surprisingly, at this point, Steve still had not told Andrea the truth. He still claimed that he had been at home at the time of the shooting. Bo and Blood testified that on the night of the murder, they were with Steve, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. They claimed that when Garrison walked by, Steve went after him and shot him. Andrea, however, pointed out that the men were biased witnesses. They were told that they would be charged with murder if they did not testify against Steve.
Myra Sexton testified in court that she had seen Steve three hours before the shooting. She claimed that he was holding a gun in an "angry mood". She also claimed that she tried to calm him down. She was the only witness that could corroborate the gang members' testimony.
According to Steve's sister, Blood and another gang member came to their home and threatened to kill them if Steve told the police the truth. Finally, Steve decided to tell Andrea the truth: he had witnessed the murder and was being framed because of it. However, he was afraid of testifying because he didn't want his family to be put in danger. She decided not to push him to testify.
Two weeks later, in January of 1983, the judge returned with his verdict: he found Steve guilty of murder. However, a few weeks later, Andrea convinced the judge to let Steve testify, even though the trial was over. He told the judge about how he witnessed Bo murder Garrison. However, the prosecutors believed that he had made up this story because he had been found guilty and wanted to deflect the blame from himself.
The judge refused to reconsider his verdict, despite Steve's testimony and the testimony of the friend that was with Steve that night. Steve was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison. Andrea appealed immediately; however, Steve's request for a new trial was rejected in a 2 to 1 vote. Despite this, he found a new advocate: the dissenting judge, Eugene Pichman. He noted that the one witness did not pick out Steve in the lineup and gave a much different description of the killer. Pichman also believed that Bo and Blood had plenty of time to concoct a story about Steve being the killer to save themselves.
Two years later, Myra Sexton admitted that she had lied on the stand about seeing Steve with a gun that night. Despite her admission, Steve was denied a new trial. Disturbingly, one year after Steve was convicted, his sister Norma was abducted after leaving work. She was taken to the 12th floor of a high rise and thrown to her death. Although the police claimed that the case was a sexual assault gone wrong, Steve believes that her murder was in retaliation for his testimony against Bo and Blood. Meanwhile, Andrea Lyon is still working to prove Steve's innocence.
Suspects: Steve claims that the two men who testified against him, nicknamed Bo and Blood, were responsible for the murder. Also, they had been suspects in the case until they told police that Steve was the killer.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the October 2, 1992 episode of Final Appeal: From the Files of Unsolved Mysteries.
Results: Solved. After new evidence was found, Steve's third appeal was granted. Another witness had recanted and yet another came forward with new information. The new witness said that they had seen a man going through Garrison's pockets just seconds after the shooting. He was certain that the man was not Steve. Also, Andrea uncovered notes from a police investigation into the El Rukns gang. The notes stated that Bo and Blood had participated in several murders and that Bo had a "habit" of framing people for his crimes, similar to what Steve claimed happened to him. Another note from a federal agent stated that an informant admitted that he and Bo had killed a security guard at the exact place where Garrison was killed.
Steve agreed to enter an Alford plea and was released from prison in 1996. The two gang members who testified against him were later arrested, tried and convicted of Garrison Hester's murder.
- People v. Shore (1984)
- Joliet Inmate Has Believers In His Corner
- New Trial Ordered In 1982 Murder
- Convicted Murderer Pleads For A Pardon
- Steve Shore v. Stateville Prison (1991)
- Prisoners of Politics
- Stories from the Pincham Collection - The case of Steven Shores
- Center on Wrongful Convictions - Steven Shores